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American Culture - Essay Example

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The Concept of Malls As Reflection of American Culture Name Institutional Affiliation The Concept of Malls As Reflection of American Culture There is something about shopping malls that seem to radiate an enticingly inviting force which lures people from all walks of life…
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American Culture
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Download file to see previous pages American culture is not an exception to this phenomenon. Through the articles “Shopping for American Culture” written by James J. Farrell, and “The Mall As Prison” written by David Guterson, the current discourse hereby asserts that malls, with their combination of over hundreds of stores, numerous restaurants, and amusement parks are the epitome of American culture, representing what entire America stands for: commercial art, materialism and places of psychological refuge. Shopping malls are replete with commercial art. Farrell (date) specifically attested that “shopping requires a biological being to enter an architectural space outfitted with commercial art and designed to sell artifacts manufactured and distributed in a market economy” (par. 7). After confirming malls as structures containing commercial art, Farrell corroborated the statement by asserting that “malls are also art galleries, carefully crafted collections of commercial art… (and are likewise) museums of contemporary American material culture” (pars. 10–11). These statements confirmed that shopping malls become reservoirs of commercial art in terms of the diversity of products and services being displayed, offered, and designed in manners that are synonymous with forms of art: through product designs, packaging, promotional campaigns, product displays, and even the architectural structures that house these varied products. Concurrently, malls also serve as cultural institutions (Farrell, date) where some strategically designed and allotted spaces become venues for display of art works, current events, social and cultural endeavors, and an exchange of community work which aims to reach out to others and serve diverse civic or social responsibility objectives. More importantly, as revealed by Guterson (date), when he visited the Mall of America in Minneapolis, the external description of the edifice resembled a magnificent artwork, to wit: “the Mall of America had been imagined by its creators not merely as a marketplace, but as a national tourist attraction” (par. 4). The grandiose design, the expansively sophisticated space, and the vividly colorful aesthetic features make malls themselves as perfect symbols of commercial art: in structural design as well as in the products and services offered therein. Likewise, shopping malls are the embodiment of materialism. As Farrell (date) had enunciated, “the average American of today consumes twice as many goods and services as the average American of 1950 and ten times as much as a counterpart from 1928” (par. 5). This information is a manifestation of the depth and intensity of consumerism, as evidenced by the magnanimity of products or services being consumed for personal and professional interests. Everything anyone needs seems to be made readily available in various stores and shops within the mall. In addition, there has been an emphasis in the “natural human impulse to dwell in marketplaces or urge to buy, sell and trade” (Guterson, date, par. 16). Finally, malls are places of psychological refuge. As acknowledged by Farrell (date), “shopping itself can be therapeutic, even fun, whether or not anything ends up in the shopping bag” (par. 6). In addition, Farrell (date) also admonished that as a place of psychological refuge, malls actually provide opportunities to enrich one’s personal identity, “a secure sense of self, a set of social relationships, a deeper sense of community, an expression of who we ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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