Mele, Christopher, Ng,, Megan, Chim, May Bo
Mele, C., Ng, M., & Chim, M. B. (2015). Urban markets as a ‘corrective’to advanced urbanism: The social space of wet markets in contemporary Singapore. Urban Studies, 52(1), 103-120.
The renewed popularity of urban markets has generated substantial attention among policymakers, planners and urban scholars. In addition to their potential local economic impact, markets provide spaces for a variety of social exchanges and interactions that may strengthen communal ties, repro- duce existing social tensions or simply reflect everyday diversity; consequently, the social functions of urban markets differ depending on the specific social, political and economic context in which individual markets operate. Based on data from interviews, questionnaires and participant observa- tion, this article examines social exchanges and interactions within wet markets (meat, fish, fruits and vegetable markets) in Singapore. The types of social interactions found in wet markets are wide-ranging and informal, and occur across different ethnicities, generations, social statuses and classes; they can range from casual exchanges to planned gatherings to sustained relations based on mutual reciprocity and trust. Wet markets are significant to Singaporeans because they are spaces of unmediated social interactions and, within the context of state governance and ongoing modernisation, increasingly exceptional. The attachment to wet markets is a collective, social response to an ongoing process in which existing and meaningful social spaces (e.g. neighbour- hoods and markets) are being erased by a redeveloped urban landscape, a concomitant disappear- ance of unregulated community space, and the pervasiveness of normative consumerism.
Wet markets are significant to Singaporeans because they are spaces of unmediated social interactions and, within the context of state governance and ongoing modernisation, increasingly exceptional.
Description of method used in the article
Interviews, questionnaires and participant observation
Of practical use