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Title: Socialism and shopping : the role of the shopping mall in the formation of public space in modern China
Author: Jewell, N. G. S.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Now challenging the westernised hegemony of global wealth in the United States and Europe, China’s rise as an economic superpower is the subject of much hyperbole and discussion. As the urban nuclei that spearhead its modernisation become increasingly globalized, perhaps the most prominent keystone of development is the shopping mall, which increasingly defines the public spaces of the city core. The presence, in this context, of the built form that embodies Western capitalisms apogee makes explicit the inherent tensions between China’s Communist state and its ascent within the free market. It is a scenario which brings modern China to a crossroads as it struggles to come to terms with a national identity that can embrace these opposing strands of ideology. A unique opportunity therefore exists to examine the manifestation of these interrelationships in the hybrid built form of the shopping mall. Understanding these constructions of identity as processes generated by the fluid interaction of global and local influences, the aim of the research will be to theorise an alternative understanding of the shopping mall that is more relevant to China’s ongoing evolution. In turn, the study aims to re-evaluate the building typology at a global level. Much architectural criticism fails to address the levels of meaning implicit within the shopping mall. It is, however, a building type that endures by providing an environment in which the principle leisure activities of many developed (and developing) societies are contained within a protective, highly intelligible and environmentally stabilised shell. If architecture is to remain a relevant social art then a more holistic understanding of this phenomenon is a necessary and integral part of the process of adapting to globalizing forces. A study of Chinese malls offers an excellent case study, indeed microcosm, of what is happening in all our cities today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available