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Calculative spaces : cities, market relations, and the commercial vitalism of the outdoor advertising industry.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date11/2008
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Journal number11
Volume40
Number of pages17
Pages2734-2750
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Based on ethnographic work, this paper examines the market research practices of the outdoor advertising industry in the UK and their commercial production of space. I focus on the role of calculation in the performance of market relations between a range of actors in the field and the use of marketing research’s classificatory practices as a currency which enacts those relations. In many accounts of urban governance, city space is produced by various statistical and classificatory devices as calculable and hence governable. But with recent developments in commercial enterprises, the performative quality of market relations engenders calculative space, a nexus of people-in-space, commercial imperatives, and a calculative energy or orientation to calculation. This is understood by the industry as a kind of commercial vitalism—an enlivening of market relations and of objects of commercial calculation—which firms aim to exploit by tapping into and channelling the energy they perceive it generates.