CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – Deadline: January 24, 2020

Marketplaces: movement, representations and practices


Ceren Sezer / Delft University of Technology/ Delft, the Netherlands/

Rianne van Melik / Radboud University / Nijmegen, the Netherlands /


In this edited book, we aim to explore everyday marketplaces as important urban spaces. Obviously these are places where sellers meet consumers and multiple forms of sociality are enacted (Watson, 2009), but in this process other types of intersections and contestations occur (Janssens and Sezer, 2013; Gonzalez, 2018). On markets, formal regulatory structures are juxtaposed with informal engagements and encounters occur not only between those on-site, but also on more organisational levels with other stakeholders in the city (Schappo & Van Melik, 2017). The idea of marketplaces as places of many kinds of intersections resonates with the increasing body of literature in urban studies that use a relational lens to understand urban phenomena. Though the terminology differs from practices and assemblages to interplay, constellations or throwntogetherness (e.g. Cresswell, 2010; Massey, 2005), these studies share a common ground in looking at socio-material relations. Following this idea, it is not merely the agency and interaction of merchants and consumers or the physical and legal structure of the market (design, regulation), but their interweaving that determines how marketplaces function. Consequently, marketplaces should not be studied as pre-given, fixed locations with clear demarcations in space and time, but as dynamic and open entities that bring their own institutional networks and constant flows of people, goods and ideas.

Following Walter Benjamin, Creswell (2010: 18) uses the notion of ‘constellations’ to describe how mobility can be understood as a combination of particular patterns of movement, representations of movement, and ways of practicing movement that make sense together. In this edited book, we use a similar framework to study marketplaces, as it helps us to understand that they are literally intersections of many different kinds. As Creswell (2010: 19) also acknowledges, these three parts might be difficult to untangle, as they are bound up with one another: “The disentangling that follows is entirely analytical and its purpose is to aid theory construction.”

The same disclaimer applies to this book. For analytical purposes, it is divided in three parts that are closely linked: movements, representations and practices. Movement is about the physical patterns of marketplaces, notably street markets and street vending. The ambulant character of many markets implies that they move from one place to another. Being in a different locality each day, the merchants have to cope with different institutional arrangements, markets’ composition, layout, and consumers. Often, the market does not move as a whole, but as separate entities. This requires flexibility from the traders, as well as navigational skills. However, not only merchants move; markets are inherently spaces of flows – also of goods and ideas. They are a temporary get-together, which turn physical spaces in the city into public spaces – if only for the duration of market hours. Contributions to this part of the book could deal with issues around ambulant trade, street vending, transnational trade, movement of goods, etc.

Representations touch upon dominant narratives about the meaning and value of markets. While in some cases, markets are perceived as ‘relics of the past’ on the verge of distinction, there are also dominant discourses that claim that markets still (and increasingly so) have important socio-economic values in providing amongst others income, access to fresh food, conviviality and care. Possible topics in this part of the book are markets as gentrification frontiers, part of urban regeneration strategies, their community value or contribution to circular economies (buying local, “love your local market”).

Lastly, practices are about activities performed at marketplaces, and how these are experienced and embodied. ‘Market-making’ as a practice is about the doings that are being performed on markets – from planners and designers working on mitigating tensions, to (ethnic) entrepreneurs that act as brokers through their bridging role between cultures and classes. Chapters in this last part of the book could discuss the design and/or planning of markets, entrepreneurship, marketplaces as political nodes, and experiences and embodiment.

Interested contributors to this book are invited to submit a 500-word abstract to abstract should include:

  • Title and key words;
  • Author(s)’ name, current affiliation and e-mail address;
  • Research questions, methodology, findings of the research;
  • Maximum five key references;


  • Short bio and a list of recent publications by the author(s); and
  • If applicable, two related images at a good resolution (min. 200dpi).

The deadline for abstract submission is January 24, 2020. After preliminary review by the editors, selected authors will be invited to submit a manuscript of 5,000 to 7,500 words by June 12, 2020. All manuscripts will be subject to the usual process of blind review. Routledge and Edward Elgar are considered as potential publishers for this book.

About the editors

Ceren Sezer is a guest researcher and lecturer at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Her research interests cover the issues of liveability and sustainability of public spaces; urban form and social life in the city, and urban regeneration and renewal processes. She is joint editor of Marketplaces as an Urban Development Strategy (2013), Public Space and Urban Justice (2017) and The Politics of Visibility in Public Space (forthcoming). She is co-founder and coordinator of an international research group Public Spaces and Urban Cultures established under the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP).

Rianne Van Melik is Assistant Professor in Urban Geography at the Institute of Management Research at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on contemporary cities and their public spaces with specific interests in the design, management, use and perception of public space. She is currently one of the principal investigators in the international research project Moving Marketplaces: Following the Everyday Production of Inclusive Public Space funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA).


Cresswell, T. (2010), Towards a politics of mobility. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28, 17-31.

Janssens, F. and Sezer,C. (eds.) (2013) Marketplaces as an urban development strategy. Special issue: Built Environment, 39(2), 168-311.

Gonzalez, S. (ed.) (2018), Contested Markets, Contested Cities: Gentrification and Urban Justice in Retail Spaces. London: Routledge.

Massey, D. (2015), For Space. London: Sage.

Schappo, P. & R. van Melik (2017) Meeting at the marketplace: On the integrative potential of The Hague Market. Journal of Urbanism, 10(3), 318-332.

Watson, S. (2009), The magic of the marketplace: Sociality in a neglected public space. Urban Studies, 46(8), 1577-1591.

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