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)

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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.

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