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The New Religious Image of Urban America

The Shopping Mall as Ceremonial Center

By Ira G. Zepp, Jr.

Publication Year: 1997

"[Zepp] has treated the malling of American in a way that would simply not have occurred to any of the professional urbanists who plan such complexes - rather as if an ornithologist had thrown entirely new light on the sparrow instead of studying some exotic denizen of the Amazon."—Paul Wheatley, The University of Chicago, School of Social Thought

The only book that deals with the religious dimensions of malls. First published in 1986, it has been updated and expanded to include a new chapter on airports and ballparks as forms of the mall, and it also now includes a critical response.

Published by: University Press of Colorado

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

In my introduction to Ira Zepp's earlier edition of this book, I claimed that he had taken a risk in claiming that a religious world (the Enclosed Mall Air Conditioned Centers (EMACs)) was camouflaged by 20th-century technology. I also indicated that the book would spark considerable debate about the religious dimensions of the malling of America. In fact, Zepp's...

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Preface 1997

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pp. xi-xii

The contemporary shopping mall is an heir to the rich legacy of ancient bazaars found on every continent. In 1971, my family visited Mexico, home of one of the world's largest shopping centers. Ten years ago I strolled through a very old, expansive, almost completely covered...

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Preface to the First Edition

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pp. xiii-xvi

Shopping malls are not static institutions. Their dynamism is reflected in how they have transformed and modified themselves over the past decade in adapting to changing consumer needs and desires. If anything, malls are increasingly "more than marketplaces," what with the greater prominence they now give to entertainment facilities...

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pp. xvii-xviii

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following persons for permission to reproduce pictures, schedules, calendars...

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pp. 3-8

Mircea Eliade, the distinguished historian of religions, wrote in the opening chapter of Patterns in Comparative Religions: We must get used to the idea of recog- nizing- hierophanies absolutely everywhere, in every area of psychological, economic, spiritual and social life. Indeed we cannot be sure that there is anything-object, movement, psychological function, being or even game-that has not at some timein human...

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1. More Than a Marketplace: The Religious Nature of Shopping Malls

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pp. 9-16

What is Religious About Malls? "Do you teach business?" asked one mall manager when I told him I was writing a book on shopping malls. On another occasion, a marketingspecialist for malls asked, "Do you teach geography?" This specialist was more imaginative, but the truth is that I teach...

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2. From Bel Air to Lenox Square

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pp. 17-32

Saturday Night in Be1 Air Thirty-five years ago, Saturday night was the most crowded and easily the most memorable time of the week in my hometown. All roadsled to this small ruralcommunity, thecounty seat of Harford County, Maryland. On Saturday night, extra police were hired to direct traffic at the intersection of Main and Office Streets. There was no traffic light in those days. The influx of people and...

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3. The Shopping Mall as Sacred Space

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pp. 33-80

I believe one of the reasons malls have grown rapidly and their popularity increased is that they fulfill our need for order and orientation. Malling means centering. Yin-Fu Tuan, professor of geography at the University of Minnesota, says that "to be livable, nature and society must show order and display a harmonious relationship...

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Transition: James Rouse — Mahatma of Malls

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pp. 81-94

In moving from a discussion of the shopping mall as sacred space to reflections on the mall as sacred time, I would like to review the life and thought of the one man whose name is synonymous with shopping malls. James Wilson Rouse is the Mahatma (Great Soul) of malls and the guidingspirit....

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4. Mall as Sacred Time

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pp. 95-142

Johan Huizinga, the Dutch historian of culture, has said, "The play-mood is one of rapture and enthusiasm, and is sacred or festive in accordance with the occasion."' While shopping malls are not carbon copies....

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5. Concluding Observations: From Lenox Square to Bel Air

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pp. 143-150

An Attempt to Retain the Personal Saturday night in Bel Air was not just a temporal or geographical reference. It was a metaphor for a personal community exchanging goods and services, and, at thesame time, having fun. Lenox Square represents the average EMAC trying hard to be the sort of primary community that Bel Air was. Both Saturday night...

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6. The Mall Is Not Over

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pp. 151-194

Heinrich Hemann, a Harvard graduate student of the history and theory of architecture with an academic interest in comparative religion, is writing a doctoral dissertation on the spiritual aspects of physical environment. In it he says...


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pp. 195-201

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 201-204


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pp. 205-212

E-ISBN-13: 9781607321293
E-ISBN-10: 1607321297
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870814365
Print-ISBN-10: 0870814362

Page Count: 212
Illustrations: 11 b&w photos, 10 B&w illustrations
Publication Year: 1997