Shopping malls in Australia: The end of public space and the rise of 'consumerist citizenship'?

Malcolm Voyce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


This article reflects on the issue of the privatization of public space in relation to the recent development of a shopping mall in Sydney. The article argues that the development in Hornsby does not coincide with the need for an open and 'democratic' public space. Rather, what has developed is a privatized space, which reduces and controls diversity. This new type of physical space creates a discursive 'rupture' with older accounts of public space, which were based on equality and open access. It is argued that the older discourses of public space have been displaced by three new discourses. The three discourses reflect, first, notions associated with the traditional ideas of property and suburban order; second, ideas of neoliberalism and self-sufficiency; third, the notion that new public space is coterminous with safety and particular discourses on consumption. It follows that any activity detrimental to consumption must be limited and that all disruptive potentialities, real or imagined, should be removed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-286
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


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