The Moving MarketPlaces (MMP) project investigates the role of ambulant merchants in the everyday production of inclusive public spaces in Europe. In recent years, markets have been shown to be flexible spatial-temporal organisations that facilitate a spontaneous synergy between people of different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. They turn into “cosmopolitan canopies” where diverse people feel they have an equal right to be. Hence, marketplaces reflect the notions of “superdiversity” and are considered. prototypical public spaces.
This project moves away from previous research that has predominantly concentrated on how marketplaces are bodily experienced and consumed. Instead, MMP focuses on the diverse ways the inclusive character of marketplaces are actively socially produced. Therefore, we primarily focus on the actors that make markets work: the merchants, who, through their mobility practices, help to transform marketplaces into inclusive public spaces by brokering everyday interactions.
Place | What is the role of merchants in the production of public spaces, now and in the past?
Mobility | How do merchants navigate different social, cultural and economic dynamics across periodic marketplaces?
Institutional | Which (in)formal institutional arrangements affect the merchants’ settlement as well as mobility between specific marketplaces?
Our research starts from two localized marketplaces in each partner country. We then develop a translocal ethnography and apply an in-movement approach that enables us to follow merchants in their navigations of different localities.
MMP adds a crucial new layer to our understanding of European public spaces by scrutinising how marketplaces are actively (re-)produced on the everyday level. Through the incorporation of key actors on national and transnational levels, we will translate our findings to concrete policies for city planners, market managers, wardens and other place-makers on how we can promote more inclusive societies in Europe through supporting convivial social infrastructures.
MMP is part of the HERA research council and is partially funded by the EU.