Geographies of the Market Place

Module code: GY3413
Module coordinator: Dr Ben Coles

The basic premise of this module is that the ‘economy’, the entity that Ash Amin (2004), amongst others, suggests swirls around us, systemically through ‘relations of flows’, in fact stems from the everyday, social, material, discursive and sensual interactions that define particular places that we call ‘marketplaces’. This does not meant that marketplaces are the sole place of the economy, but that they are specific to the formation of the economy. The practices of the marketplace establish the rules and conventions by which we engage in trade. Likewise, they normalise the exchange relations that underpin economic transactions, and thus what we think of as the economy.

For instance, where and how do you think the price of coffee is set, and by whom? The answer to this question lies in the marketplace, both as a specific entity, a particular marketplace, located at a specific locale, that operates at certain times during the day/week/month and year, but also a general marketplace, comprised of many different sites of economic interactions, and in particular different marketplaces, spread throughout the world – what Ted Bestor (2001) refers to as ‘market-space’. These places, each comprised of meanings, materials and social relations, together comprise the economy. This constellation of places is the locus through which the relations of the economy, and ultimately the space of the economy emerges. At the same time, the economy, in part at least, comprises these places in their social-sensual, as well as material forms. The coming together of market and marketplace, of economy and its material, discursive and social-sensuality defines what we think of as the economy (Probyn 2011). Starting with, and concentrating on a specific marketplace, Leicester City Market, the intention of this module to explore these Geographies, and consequently the geographies that make up the economy.

To get at these geographies, this module develops and explores the practice of topo/graphy (place-writing). Place writing is a critical and creative methodology to examine place, as well as to present and represent it. Comprised of different types of writings, such as field notes, site-writings, photographs, maps, and a range of other-such materials, topo/graphy seeks to present a theoretically informed, empirically rich account of place, in this case a marketplace that is sensitive to its topographies – the dense interrelations of its materialities, socialities and sensualities, and topologies – the spatial extent of its broad interconnections.

Learning

  • 18 hours of lectures
  • 6 hours practical classes and workshops
  • 2 hours of tutorials
  • 6 hours of fieldwork
  • 118 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Project progress report (20%)
  • Topography Project (80%)