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Consuming and living the corner shop: belonging, remembering, socialising

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Abstract:

This paper presents findings from an ethnographic case study in Germany investigating the relationship between shopkeepers and customers of small grocery stores owned by immigrants. The focus is on social practices within the shops and how those engaged in these activities make sense of them. Shops become meaningful through shared practices that revolve around selling and buying. However, this process is complex and not without conflict. Moving through the themes of belonging, remembering and socialising, I will show how the everyday lifeworlds of customers and shopkeepers, including their aspirations, expectations and uncertainties, intersect and how the shop emerges as a meaningful space through negotiation. Rather than looking at cultural differences alone, it is concluded that there can be significant other ways to understand multicultural places by focusing on the multiple ways that consumers engage with so-called 'ethnic' enterprises.

Keywords: consumption; ethnicity; ethnography; everyday life; retailing

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2010.523840

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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