Weller, S. (2013). Consuming the city: public fashion festivals and the participatory economies of urban spaces in Melbourne, Australia. Urban Studies: an international journal for research in urban studies,50(14), A. Cumbers. 2853-2868. United Kingdom: SAGE Publications Ltd. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098013482500
This paper examines how the conduct of a local festival of fashion retailing—the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival—reinvigorates the commodity fair format of older times. The paper takes a longitudinal view of the festival’s evolution and draws on Lefebvre’s spatiology, complemented by Terranova’s approach to the participatory economy, to explore how it produces monetary value as it produces space. The discussion highlights the contradictory nature of event processes, arguing that they reinforce dominant representations of the city and extend retailers’ reach into public space, but at the same time undermine spaces of business activity. The paper suggests that the event’s use of participatory economies of cultural mobilisation are similar to the tactics of social movement activism, but that in this context mobilisation works to support the value-capturing strategies of local retailers and to reinscribe urban spaces as spaces of consumption.
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