The social milieux of two north London shopping centres
B. Holbrook, P. Jackson 1996 Geoforum v27 p193-204

As part of a larger project involving both quantitative and qualitative research, this paper discusses the findings of a questionnaire survey at Brent Cross and Wood Green concerning the social use of two north London shopping centres. Combined with focus group and ethnographic research (reported elsewhere), the survey results provide fresh empirical evidence about the nature of consumption as a social process, extending well beyond the point of sale. The paper demonstrates that 'regional' centres (like Brent Cross) have a surprisingly 'local' clientele; that shoppers at the two centres differ less markedly in terms of conventional measures of social class than might have been expected; but that there are significant perceived differences in the social character of the two centres. It is also suggested that looking (and other social aspects of shopping) may be as important as buying for many consumers and that 'family shopping' is better understood as a convenient marketing metaphor rather than as an accurate description of most people's shopping practices and preferences. The paper highlights the need to gain a more thorough understanding of the views of ordinary consumers in everyday places (like Wood Green and Brent Cross) in order to provide a more grounded analysis of the nature of contemporary consumption.

Subject: Sociology, Geography, Economics
Research on Learning: Ways Of Learning:In the FieldKeywords: West Edmonton mall, built environment, consumption, landscape