The Marketsite: A New Conceptualization of Market Spatiality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Economic geographers have deployed a variety of spatial categories (e.g., scale, territory and border) to describe and theorize the spatiality of market making and marketization processes. This article supplements these accounts with insights from the work of post-structural geographers oriented toward the site. To this end, the article introduces the notion of the marketsite. Marketsites are points where heterogeneous elements are brought together and assembled in an effort to realize the conditions required for the performance of model markets and market subjectivities. Using the example of smart disclosure, the article argues that the use of disclosure labels to improve consumer decision making has transformed the point of sale and other transactional junctures into incipient marketsites—niches where various behavioral techniques are deployed to summon into being subjects who behave as if they were Homines economici. The behavioral turn in economics has focused the market-making efforts of a variety of actors on the market subject and strategic sites in people’s everyday lives where they can be guided and nudged into alignment with market models. Together such marketsites delineate a new, and largely uncharted, geography of encounter between (behavioral) economic theory and actually existing markets. Drawing on fieldwork developing and testing a fee disclosure box for a prepaid debit card, I show that the production of marketsites, where Homo economicus can survive, is a messy process that rarely succeeds. Regardless, such efforts reveal valuable insights into how the behavioral turn in economics is reshaping the spatiality of market-making processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-320
Number of pages22
JournalEconomic Geography
Volume94
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 27 2018

Keywords

  • behavioral economic geography
  • consumer finance
  • disclosure
  • financial geography
  • marketization
  • prepaid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics

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