Consumer´s Place in the Mall: Reflections of the Global and the Local in four Shopping Malls in Ankara
Sociology Middle East Technical University Ankara, Turkey
Shopping malls first appeared in Turkish major cities in the late 1980s and concentrated in urban space in the last decade. They have addressed socially and culturally differentiating groups; and, they have mediated a privately experienced, urban public life. In this article, I follow theoretical discussions around the interaction of the global and the local. Drawing upon the findings of a qualitative study conducted in 2007 with sales clerks working in four different shopping centers in Ankara, the Turkish capital, I try to illustrate the interaction of the global with the local, through changing conceptions of time and space at the local level. Focusing on the case of Ankara, I argue that such change in ways of which urban life is experienced means increased physical and social mobility in the city. At the same time, it inflates the value of time and money for many people. With this perceived mobility comes changes in behavior, such as pretentiousness, inclination to consume the image by touching commodities more, and, a fretful, bossy attitude towards the shop employee. Examples come from consumers' use of time in the mall and ways of communicating with shop clerks. These changes in consumers' behavior are also meaningful to deal with social control and strangeness felt in the mall space, but they are not experienced homogenously by diversely urbanized consumers or those with rural origins.