Urban Markets and Diversity: Toward a
Research Agenda

by Daniel Hiebert, Jan Rath and Steven Vertovec

Working Papers WP 14-06
July 2014
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

Full text: pdf

In this paper we advocate the study of local street markets to explore fundamental issues about the relationship between economy and society. This relationship evolves over time and we believe that it has been recast in an age of increasing cultural diversity and neoliberal state regulatory structures. In street markets we can see how diversity and the nature of economic transactions become mutually constitutive. We argue that cultural diversity propels local markets, while everyday interactions in markets influence intercultural relationships. These complex processes are affected by the spatiality of markets and the regulatory environments within which they operate. We conclude by framing a research program on street markets and discuss a number of methodological complications that would need to be addressed in this endeavour.

Keywords: Street markets, cultural diversity, urban anthropology, urban sociology, social geography, social interaction, cultural engagement, urban economy, cultural consumption, ethnic entrepreneurship         

Daniel Hiebert is Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia
and for the last decade has Co-Directed a Metropolis British Columbia, a Center of Excellence for research on immigration and diversity.
Website: blogs.ubc.ca/dhiebert/. Email: daniel.hiebert(at)ubc.ca

Jan Rath is Professor of Urban Sociology, Chair of the Department of Sociology
and Anthropology, Associated with the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) and the Center for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), Member of the IMISCOE Research Network, and the European Chair of International Metropolis.
Website: www.janrath.com. Email: j.c.rath(at)uva.nl

Steven Vertovec is Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious
and Ethnic Diversity. ADDRESS:
Max Planck Institute, Herman-Föge-Weg 11, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.
Website: www.mmg.mpg.de. Email:vertovec(at)mmg.mpg.de