Saturday, June 20, 2009

Drones in a shopping mall.

They built a huge shopping mall called "Iguatemi", illegally, on environmentally protected land here. It seems to be quite successful.

There are three malls here now (I count only the free-standing malls- there are innumerable smaller malls which offer, in a smaller scale, the similar services) , all fairly glossy, and serving primarily the needs of middle class females. You need a car to visit one of them, but the others are accessible by public transport. All three malls are costly and bland and their floorspace almost entirely given over to the needs of women.

Studying the mall, it is possible to conclude that women are dominant in Brazilian society because, although they do not hold senior positions in the workplace, the mall indicates the extent to which the market is focused on their needs. Luis Filipe described the society here as a "false patriarchy" because of this- men appear dominant, but in fact are merely the servants of female desire.

It could be argued that I am placing too much importance on shopping in my analysis. To counter this, it should be noted that these malls are easily the largest recent public constructions in Florianopolis, dwarfing the airport, cathedral and bus station. The malls are also the only places open at weekends and late at night. They are a focus for the general culture in a way that the arts centre isn't. I would also add that the shopping mall is more truly representative of the society in a way that displays and events at the art centre aren't.

Florianopolis holds a special position in the contemporary Brazilian imagination, in that it is regarded by so many Brazilians- and indeed foreigners- as sort of Brazilian "city of the future".

"Iguatemi" is extremely uninteresting visually, but it is a suitable place to study the behaviour and interests of Brazil's dominant classes, and I shall be expanding on these points here in later postings.

The ideas in this posting were discussed at length with Luis Filipe, and I wish to acknowledge the importance of his contributions.

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