A Critical Spatial Approach to Marketplace Exclusion and Inclusion


Journal of Public Policy & Marketing

Spring 2013, vol. 32, pp.32-37

Departments: Marketing

Keywords: Social space, Critical theory of space, Retail space, Marketplace diversity, Marketplace exclusion

The authors apply insights from critical spatial theory to explore how space can be reimagined to be more inclusive. The meaning of spaces includes (1) objective physical space, (2) subjective imagined space, and (3) lived space used by consumers. The authors discuss several cases in which different social actors (i.e., consumers, marketers, businesses, and policy makers) exert various forms of agency to achieve power and control in the social space and maximize different goals. They also highlight how critical spatial theories can be extended by marketing researchers. Businesses sometimes have more diverse interests than merely profit maximization and can consider a wider array of other stakeholders' interests to ensure the long-term survival of the firm. Finally, the authors examine implications for public policy. They point out the usefulness of a critical spatial perspective in such areas as affordable housing, inclusive and democratic retail space development, spatial segregation, and suburban sprawl