It's interesting that despite this being across the world, the mall looks like any Canadian mall. On another note, maybe all we really need is love in order to solve the disconnect and fears we have?
It is clear and evident that the mall is attempting to make the mall a safe and comfortable place for the customers. Although many shoppers do not feel any form of danger when at the mall, the use of CCTV surveillance cameras and security guards can ensure that the thought of danger does not enter their mind.
The division of power between the mall, the customers and the "others" is being explored. The division of power is clearly evident within the mall through security and their locations, the use of CCTV surveillance cameras, and the rules carried around by security officers. This developed through the observations of cameras in every single location possible, other than bathrooms. Yad was lucky enough to receive a copy of the rules of the mall from a security officer. The rules clearly outlined who was included and who was excluded from the mall, and also outlined the power that the security officers have. One of the rules was that the taking of photographs was strictly prohibited without consent from the mall. Outside of the Apple store, we felt very closely watched by staff inside as we were attempting to take a photograph of the store. This led to us feeling uncomfortable because we knew that we were being very carefully watched. This however did not discourage us as we returned to the same location a bit later in order to take a photo.
Rideau's rules given to a group member
The mall has created a set of guidelines that individuals must follow while present. It is the responsibility of the security to ensure that these rules are respected. As Ferrell et al. (2008) address, “it is a situation where inclusion and exclusion occur concurrently – a bulimic world where massive cultural inclusion is accompanied by systematic structural exclusion” (63). The power that the mall and security have over the customers brings up this notion of “othering.” The concept of “othering” can them be brought up with regards to social exclusion. Othering is described as the attitude of there being two groups within society; the “us” group and the “them” group (http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Othering).
When walking around the mall, it can be established that the two groups within the vicinity are the security, and the general population. The security operates under the guidance of the rules of the mall. Any individual caught violating these rules will be escorted out of the mall. While exploring Rideau, we approached a store where a young, dishevelled man was kicked out aggressively. We looked no different than him, yet, moments after, we entered the very same store and asked if we may take photos. We were conscious of what had just occurred, so we took it as a moment to experiment. We introduced ourselves as students from the University of Ottawa collecting data for a project. The owner, previously skeptical of us as we paced the store, suddenly became warm and welcoming. Our status as students suddenly changed his view - he othered that young gentleman he saw as suspicious and treated us the same way until he learnt of our intentions.
The Rideau Center has rules about running, yelling, shouting, and collecting in groups, which can be related to the actions of children, or teenagers. The mall also implements the use of CCTV cameras in order to keep the customers under surveillance. As Coleman & McCahill (2011) explain, the use of CCTV surveillance cameras target teenagers because they are more of a threat to cause problems within the general vicinity (113). Coleman & McCahill also go on to further explain that within shopping malls, the security officer uses the CCTV surveillance camera to “target ‘known criminals’, ‘suspected drug addicts’, and those ‘wanted’ for the breach of bail conditions” (113). As stated above, the mall targets ‘suspected drug addicts.’ How does one distinguish the appearance of a drug user?
Within the theory of social exclusion, it is clearly evident that members of low economic status are being excluded from public areas such as the mall. Throughout the visit to the Rideau Center, I did not witness a single homeless individual wandering around the mall. However, outside the mall, there were an overwhelming number of impoverished individuals sitting on the ground. The majority of these individuals had a hat in front of them, symbolizing their need for money; however, others would simply ask for money.
The mall is geared around the consumption of its customers. If an individual is not purchasing any goods from the mall, they will be under the microscope as security may ask them to leave the mall. At every entrance to the mall there are security officers. By placing security at every entrance point, it becomes easier to exclude certain populations from entering the mall. Even though we did not purchase anything from the mall, there was a slight sense of nervousness because we knew that at any time a security guard could escort us out. We were simply noting behaviours of the mall and taking relevant photographs. If an employee were to witness this, they could call security.
A solution that has been brought up for social exclusion is making this phenomenon brought up to the public attention (Parodi & Sciulli. 2012, 14). The European Union has taken a proactive approach to social exclusion by investigating the attitudes individuals have with regards to social exclusion (Parodi & Sciulli, 2012, 14). The European Union also recognized 2010 as the year to “fight poverty and social exclusion” (Parodi & Sciulli, 2012, 14). By raising awareness to the issue, it makes the public more aware. The public may not be willing to help the excluded members; however, the subject is no longer in the shadows. As Parodi & Sciulli (2012) further address, the European Union also made a program to aid socially excluded members of society find jobs (14).
A theory that has been clearly evident within public areas, such as the mall, is the theory of social exclusion. Social exclusion can be defined as a state of deprivation where certain groups of individuals are lacking the basic necessities (Parodi & Sciulli, 2012; Lewis & Lockhead, 2008; Galabuzi et al., 2010). Ferrell, Hayward and Young also discuss social exclusion as a majority socially and morally excluding a minority that is a threat to the majority's identity and security (2008, 62). General members of the population may believe that individuals are socially excluded because they are poor. However, as Parodi & Sciulli (2012) explain, poverty and social exclusion are similar, but not exactly synonymous of each other (12). Lewis & Lockhead (2008) explain that individuals become socially excluded because of stigmatization, ethnic differences, and low status (10).
Stigmatization can explicitly play a role in social exclusion (Lewis & Lockhead, 2008, 10). If an ethnic group is stigmatized as something very negative, members of authority can exclude the stigmatized member. This can relate to the concept of hyperpluralism because the identity of the individual is being used (Ferrell et al, 2008, 56). With regards to our topic of the mall, if an ethnic group is characterized as shoplifters, the security has the ability to exclude these members from the mall without cause. This demonstrates the negative impact that stigmatization can play on an individual.
Similar to hyperpluralism, social inclusion and exclusion also take into account the identities of individuals and based on the identities, either include or exclude them. When an individual has a positive identity (such as citizenship, a job and money to spend), they are welcome to certain locations; i.e the mall. The mall wants all of its consumers to first of all, purchase goods, but also wants the customers to follow the rules and regulations. Individuals that cannot follow the rules and regulations then become excluded from the mall. It is very important to distinguish between the identity of an individual and their inclusion or exclusion. Clearly, homeless people outside of Rideau Centre cannot participate in the normalcy of shopping, because they do not have the capital or image to do so. Even if, say, the homeless girl below managed to accumulate some money to spend within the mall, the stigma she faces will still exclude her from full participation.