Analyzing "Shopping for American Culture" by James Farrell.

Topics: Shopping mall, Miniskirt, National Mall Pages: 3 (966 words) Published: November 10, 2005
The United States has more malls than high schools and the number of shopping centers is increasing each year (378). It is clear that malls are a large part of our society. In "Shopping for American Culture," James Farrell claims that the 45,000 malls in America define American values and culture because malls are the ideal environment for social interaction, aesthetic appreciation, and equality of consumerism. While Farrell talks through the majority of his essay about the benefits of the mall, his final two paragraphs complicate his own argument. Specifically, we see this in his brief treatment of commercialism.

In the introduction of his book "One Nation Under Goods", James Farrell explores malls and the effects they have on society. Farrell claims that shopping at malls is such a common part of our lives that we take it for granted and overlook what is really going on at the mall, a large-scale cultural interaction. When we go to malls, not only are we searching for items to purchase, we are also searching for an identity. Farrell even makes the claim that malls are similar to churches and museums; they're places where we can figure out our values. He talks about how everything in the mall, from the product design to the architecture, is constructed to please the consumer. He says that there is a "conspiracy of customer satisfaction" at the mall and that the workers genuinely want to please the shopper. Farrell's main claim is that society as a whole gets it's values and culture from the nation's malls, yet he complicates his argument by briefly mentioning consumerism in his last paragraph.

Farrell says that there are many great things about the mall, such as equality, art, and social interaction. However, the one thing that he dislikes about the mall is the presence of commercialism. He states, "Still, my main complaint is not primarily with malls, but with a larger commercial culture that characterizes us mainly as consumers. My main argument is with...
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