Consumption, exclusion and emotion: The social geographies of shopping

Peter Williams, Phil Hubbard, David Clark, Nigel Berkeley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, a productive dialogue has developed between retail geographers and those social geographers concerned with the spatiality of consumption. This has resulted in a series of accounts of shopping that emphasize notions of consumer creativity. Nonetheless, this paper argues that many of these have struggled to reconcile the meaning of shopping with an understanding of the material parameters within which consumers operate. Recognizing that this tendency has distracted from the socio-spatial inequalities evident in retailing, the paper examines how shopping rituals are embedded in social relations that discourage particular shoppers from visiting certain retail locations. Drawing on extensive and intensive data derived in Coventry (UK), the paper questions the extent to which this geography of exclusion is the product of constraint, arguing that shopping is shaped by a more complex spatiality of inclusion and (self-) exclusion. Accordingly, the paper makes the case for a social geography of shopping that pays careful attention to the emotionally laden transactions played out in particular settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-220
Number of pages18
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Consumer society
  • Emotion
  • Exclusion
  • Identity
  • Retailing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies


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