institutions and ways of moving.

control of movement and institutions: after reading Gillian Rose’s chapter ‘Institutions and Ways of Seeing’ (2001, in Visual Methodologies, An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials, p. 172 – 194), which outlines the ways institutions control what, where and how we see in order to exert and maintain control of power and knowledge, i am also left questioning the ways in which institutions also control how and where we move. Rose mentions the way in which art galleries and museums are arranged to influence and dictate the way we move through a collection; what we are asked to see (or not), in what order and at what pace.

control of movement, commerce and capitalism: i am reminded how the institution of commerce and capitalism also control movement, most notably in the layout and arrangement of shops, all to influence and encourage spending. i heard a radio programme recently which discussed how the arrangement of shelving units in shops encourage clockwise movement through shops, making it easier for right handed shoppers, which the majority are, to pick things up and put them in their trolley. also the placement of items that the shop wants to sell are placed at eye level, again to control and encourage us to choose and buy them. and what of one-way systems leading shoppers ever closer to the checkout and not the door – ever tried to back track through IKEA?

control of movement, city centre and suburbia: i am also reminded of a book ‘Sphinx and the City’ by Elizabeth Wilson (1991) which i dipped into a few years ago when i was researching movement and gender as part of walking project work. Wilson argues that city planners repeatedly attempt to control and regulate women’s movement, and also working class and ethnic minorities, by designing grandiose urban centres for business and confining family and women to suburbia. these business centres become no-go areas at night and again exclude women (and many others) from going there…….. time for a rethink… and a reread.


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