Reading Development

Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo

The street market as animated space

“This ethnography of Chapel Market in Islington uncovers an animated space replete with its own actors, history, currents of activity, and interrelations with authorities and with government. There is a clear dynamism here which resists reduction into a dualism of ‘formal’ and ‘informal’. Instead, it spotlights the need for an appreciation of the shades of gray that exist between these two conceptualizations as realities vary from actor to actor, vendor to pedestrian.”

“A busy street market is a prime location to reconceptualize animated space from an everyday perspective and add novel viewpoints from the global North to a typically Southern-dominated paradigm. Digging critically into the everyday strategies of market actors and the flows of the market itself as a public event reveals a deep interplay of forces, response, and interactions. Furthermore, the diversity and dynamism of market activity lends credence to the argument that informality is a shared urban issue and a reductive cast of work as stringently formal or informal fails to capture the true nuance and breadth of market praxis (Robinson 2006; Varley 2013). Strategies and performance are not limited to a strictly formalized relation with the state or complete lawlessness but instead can assume various degrees of formalization and shift readily in this distinction according to the goals of the actor. Study and ethnography of the everyday animated public space uncovers the rich textural nature inherent in human social life. Appreciation for this complexity and acknowledgement that it is problematic to reduce social phenomena into dualisms can have significant positive implications for actors in semi-precarious positions in terms of policy improvements and public debate”

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This entry was posted on Saturday, 5 October 2019 by in Urban issues and tagged , , , .
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