Building Servicescape Culture: Examining Social Order, Spatial Change, and Consumer Experience
AuthorGodfrey, David Matthew
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMany mixed-use retail areas feature publicly-accessible spaces that facilitate community-oriented activities, such as craft fairs and concerts, alongside more conventional market-oriented activities, such as shopping and dining. Mixed-use development is growing rapidly by blending residential, commercial, and community uses and facilities within pedestrian-friendly sites. However, marketing theory and practice do not yet offer the conceptual or practical tools needed to understand how consumers and service providers interact in these emerging spaces. This dissertation examines the complex processes of spatial and social interaction that unfold over time in mixed-use retail centers. It does so at multiple levels. The first chapter examines how both consumers and service providers shape the social order that guides action within a mixed-use space. The second chapter studies how consumers experience the varied and heterogeneous blend of activities occurring within a mixed-use retail environment. The third chapter proposes a spatial analysis of the ways that farmers’ markets, which frequently serve to anchor mixed-use developments by facilitating both community- and market-oriented activities, shape urban social and economic change over time. Results demonstrate the ways that service providers and consumers use physical spaces to manage conflicts and shape patterns of activity over time. In a mixed-use retail environment, service providers and consumers utilize the physical environment to stabilize a social order that favors their own activities. However, any resulting order must still allow for multiple and often conflicting activities in order to maintain a perception of authentic participation. This perception masks underlying power relations and inequalities that structure the mixed-use environment. Achieving and maintaining this perception involves a delicate balance, in which social and economic power is deployed at the risk of alienating the creative, community-oriented people and activities that can distinguish a mixed-use retail space from its competitors. Results also show that, in mixed-use environments, consumers draw upon multiple cultural logics to understand how to act and how to interpret experiences. Co-present, heterogeneous activities can complement or conflict with each other, depending on ways that consumers employ cultural and material resources to construct their experiences. The final chapter builds a conceptual model and proposes an empirical examination of the ways that consumption sites shape urban change over multiple decades and across urban areas. It contributes to gentrification theory and to marketing and consumer research by studying the influence of farmers’ markets on multiple factors shown to influence gentrification. Taken together, the three chapters of this dissertation foreground the role of space and place in sociocultural consumer research and contribute theory that can guide future spatial research in marketing and consumer behavior.
Degree ProgramGraduate College