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The production of social space: shopping malls as relational and transductive spaces

Journal article
Authors Johan Hagberg
Alexander Styhre
Published in Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Volume 11
Issue 3
Pages 354-374
ISSN 1726-0531
Publication year 2013
Published at Centre for Retailing
Department of Business Administration, Management & Organisation
Department of Business Administration, Marketing Group
Pages 354-374
Language en
Keywords construction innovation, design, implementing, managing and practicing innovation, retailing
Subject categories Business Administration


Purpose – The concept of space is commonly transcending the binary separation between materiality and abstraction structuring social theory, being both a built, immutable environment and what is derived from uncoordinated spatial practices embedded in social norms and instituted behaviours. As a consequence, organization theorists have been only marginally interested in organized spaces and spatiality, examining primarily office spaces and other visual, symbolic spaces in organizations. Organized space is relational and transductive, constructed to be able to both accommodate various needs and demands and to be able of responding to emerging information. Organized space is thus transient and fluid, only temporarily stabilized, and fundamentally open to external influences. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – A study of shopping center development practices demonstrates how various actors representing heterogeneous interests collaborate to balance various interests such as the need for both commercial and public spaces in a community, rendering social space a politicized space wherein disputes and interests are settled. Findings – Social spaces such as shopping centers are unfolding as relational and transductive spaces capable of being modified and changes as new social needs and demands emerge. Shopping center spaces are developed in the intersection of a variety of professional domains of expertise and social interests and needs. Originality/value – The paper combines a theoretical framework of social spaces as being what is produced in collaborative efforts and what includes both technical and material as well as social and cultural components with an empirical study of shopping mall development.

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