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Cover for El Mall

El Mall

The Spatial and Class Politics of Shopping Malls in Latin America

Arlene Dávila


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (1/5/2016)


While becoming less relevant in the United States, shopping malls are booming throughout urban Latin America. But what does this mean on the ground? Are shopping malls a sign of the region’s “coming of age”? El Mall is the first book to answer these questions and explore how malls and consumption are shaping the conversation about class and social inequality in Latin America.  
Through original and insightful ethnography, Dávila shows that class in the neoliberal city is increasingly defined by the shopping habits of ordinary people. Moving from the global operations of the shopping mall industry to the experience of shopping in places like Bogotá, Colombia, El Mall is an indispensable book for scholars and students interested in consumerism and neoliberal politics in Latin America and the world. 

Praise For El Mall: The Spatial and Class Politics of Shopping Malls in Latin America

"Overall, Dávila treats the mall as a microcosm of wider changes in governance, economics and social relations... nuanced." 
— Environment and Urbanization

"Building on years of interdisciplinary fieldwork, both introduce methods for mobilizing larger projects to provide space within which new socially oriented urbanisms might unfold. Dávila’s volume is a deep ethnographic account of the mall, a program that is declining in North America but proliferating globally, particularly in Latin America. The study illuminates why this is the case, building on Dávila’s extensive scholarship on urban consumption in Colombian cities and identity marketing among the Latinx middle class."
— Latin American Research Review

"Malls are iconic and often the locus of narratives about globalizing consumer culture, but as Arlene Dávila shows, the role of the mall is not so simple. . . . El Mall speaks to processes of making a middle class."
— City & Society

University of California Press, 9780520286849, 248pp.

Publication Date: January 5, 2016

About the Author

Arlene Dávila is Professor of Anthropology and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. She is the author of numerous books, including Barrio Dreams (UC Press, 2004) and Latinos Inc. (UC Press, 2001, 2012).