Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Once-Upon-a-Time in the Commodity World: An Unofficial Guide to Mall of America

Jon Goss
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Vol. 89, No. 1 (Mar., 1999), pp. 45-75
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2564034
Page Count: 31
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Once-Upon-a-Time in the Commodity World: An Unofficial Guide to Mall of America
Preview not available

Abstract

This paper provides an account of the contemporary operation of the commodity aesthetic through a critical reading of Mall of America, the largest themed retail and entertainment complex in the U.S. Inspired by Walter Benjamin's analysis of nineteenth century arcades, I argue that the modern megamall is a dreamhouse of the collectivity, where fantasies of authentic life are displaced onto commodities that are fetishized in the spatial, anthropological, and psychological senses. Vital to these processes is the construction of temporal-spatial contexts, or chronotopes of consumption, which include the spatial archetypes of Public Space, Marketplace, and Festival Setting, and temporal archetypes of original Nature, Primitiveness, Childhood, and Heritage. Within these contexts, fetishism operates through themes of transport, both bodily in terms of motion and travel, and imaginatively in the form of memory and magic. Following a critique of a failure of dialectic thinking in existing literature on commodity consumption, I provide a dialectical "reading" of Mall of America, and outline its implications for a progressive political engagement with the contemporary retail built environment.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[45]
    [45]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
46
    46
  • Thumbnail: Page 
47
    47
  • Thumbnail: Page 
48
    48
  • Thumbnail: Page 
49
    49
  • Thumbnail: Page 
50
    50
  • Thumbnail: Page 
51
    51
  • Thumbnail: Page 
52
    52
  • Thumbnail: Page 
53
    53
  • Thumbnail: Page 
54
    54
  • Thumbnail: Page 
55
    55
  • Thumbnail: Page 
56
    56
  • Thumbnail: Page 
57
    57
  • Thumbnail: Page 
58
    58
  • Thumbnail: Page 
59
    59
  • Thumbnail: Page 
60
    60
  • Thumbnail: Page 
61
    61
  • Thumbnail: Page 
62
    62
  • Thumbnail: Page 
63
    63
  • Thumbnail: Page 
64
    64
  • Thumbnail: Page 
65
    65
  • Thumbnail: Page 
66
    66
  • Thumbnail: Page 
67
    67
  • Thumbnail: Page 
68
    68
  • Thumbnail: Page 
69
    69
  • Thumbnail: Page 
70
    70
  • Thumbnail: Page 
71
    71
  • Thumbnail: Page 
72
    72
  • Thumbnail: Page 
73
    73
  • Thumbnail: Page 
74
    74
  • Thumbnail: Page 
75
    75