Imaging the Marketplace: Place and Imagination in London’s Borough Market

Dr. Ben Coles – University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

25 de março de 2011 às 10:00hs
Auditório do NEPO/Unicamp

Atividade promovida pelo Projeto Paisagem e imagem da cidade:
a forma e a experiência urbana de Campinas


This paper is derived from a chapter in my upcoming book, Placing the Marketplace: The Production of Consumption in London’s Borough Market (Ashgate Publishers). The book is a topography – a ‘place writing’ set in Borough Market, a ‘fine’, ‘ethical’ and ‘alternative’ food market located near central London., whilst the chapter itself is a piece of the topography. Borough Market is distinct because of the kinds of food it sells – foods that have both an explicit and implicit geography, because of the ways that geography and geographical imagery are used in the construction of the market, and because of the ways that these elements come together to both produce a market and to produce a consumable experience of ‘The Market’, all of which, through processes of place making, work to reproduce place, the marketplace and indeed, Borough Market.

The idea of topography is to methodologically deploy theoretical, conceptual and philosophical concerns of place through a methodological framework. Practically speaking, topography employs similar methods and perspectives to ethnography. Methods include field notes, site writing, photography, structured/semi-structured interviews, informal chats, participant/participatory observation. Similarily to ethnography it also employs notions of crafted narrative and essays which are fashioned into the topography. It differs in analysis. While ethnography is largely concerned with relations as they relate to the social and cultural, topography engages with relations as they relate to the fundamental elements of Geography: place and place making.

This paper engages with one component of place and place-making in Borough Market: the assemblage of visual material culture and its production of a material based system of meanings – a ‘material semiotic’. It begins with an explanation of the theoretical design of topography, before moving on to present its empirical components. The central argument of the paper is that as various material objects assemble in the market (foods, display objects, built environment, as well as people and ideas), Borough Market is both produced and reproduced. These notions of (re)production refer to both physical production of the market and to an imaginative (semiotic/affective) production of ‘The Market’ – a marketplace idea grounded in geographical imaginations about how production and consumption ought to be.

This paper also argues that through these concepts of assemblage and reproduction, Borough Market and the place itself, is fashioned into a consumable experience. This chapter teases this experience apart by analysing constituent elements like signs, stall displays and its built environment; the effects of their assemblage and the sensual-affective experience their assemblage into the marketplace produces. Textually, the chapter is divided into an empirical narrative of the market, signalled by the use of New Courier font, and an analytical discussion, signalled by Franklin Book Gothic font. This textual feature runs throughout the book, and together with a collection of interleaved photo essays, a topography of Borough Market emerges.

Mais informações: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/conanx/webpages/workpackage2.html

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