Bargaining, learning and control: Production of consumption spaces in post-socialist context

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Nagy, Erika
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Post-socialist economies that had been considered as markets of high growth potential by retailers grew increasingly contested during the last decade. The growth and restructuring in the retail sector resulted in a deeper embedding into global flows of goods, increasingly diverse consumption spaces, and changing socio-spatial practices. At the same time, the shifts and turns in the discourses over consumption and citizenship reflected the variety of social interests related to this issue and also the rise of new agents challenging major retailers’ dominance. This paper is focused on various interconnected strategies and practices – those of producers, retailers, property developers, local political elites and consumers – that are “at work” in post-socialist countries, producing new landscapes of shopping and driving discourses over consumption through which, individual and collective identities are constructed. Corporate strategies of retailers, such as their deeper embedding into post-socialist markets through the construction of supplier chains, branding policies, and exploiting local personal networks are analysed in political economic approach. Moreover, socio-spatial practices of consumers, whose decisions were (are) shaped by corporate strategies, as well as by experiencing and learning from past and recent changes are also discussed to reveal how new meanings are attached to various spaces. The findings that rest on series of case-studies focused on Hungary (Debrecen, Békéscsaba; Southeast Hungary) might support a better understanding of the production of consumption spaces and of socio-spatial inequalities in a post-socialist context.
poszt-szocialista városfejlődés , fogyasztás , szerkezetváltás , poszt-szocialista városok
Europa Regional 20. (2012): (1) pp. 42-54. (2014)