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Home » Kirstie Ball: Brandscapes of Control? The co-construction of subjects and spaces in late capitalism

Security, Conferences, 2010, Abstracts

Brandscapes of Control? The co-construction of subjects and spaces in late capitalism

This paper argues that amongst the many new forms of utopian project emerging in late capitalist society, there is a vision emerging from marketing, based on a combination of surveillance, ubiquitous computing and communication and an affective, as well as material, economic order.


This vision is termed the ‘brandscape’, a socio-spatial configuration which consumers are required and persuaded not just to purchase but also to inhabit, and whose creation is simultaneously one of the construction of space and subjectivity. Examining the organizational and historical roots of this configuration, whose basis is in the coding and analysis of consumer transactions, behaviors, and tastes, the paper develops two commentaries. The first is that like many such totalizing trajectories, the brandscape is based on concepts that have multiple flaws and will go the way of other utopian schemes in being always partial and incomplete: an addition to the complex contemporary topography of ‘oligoptic’ spaces rather than a ‘panoptic’ form of control. The second is that while this unifying vision is pitched at enhancing the total urban experience through the application of code there is a corresponding loss as a result of that which is projected and subsequently experienced.