Published: February 2011
Author(s): Robin Smith, Jesse Heley, Ian Stafford

Sociological Research Online 16(1) pp 32-42

In this paper we present a multi-dimensional analysis of the closure of Woolworths in Wales and the way in which the loss of this familiar high-street brand can be accounted for at a number of levels and within different social arenas. Primarily, the paper demonstrates how Woolworths is positioned as a symbol of a previous era of consumption centred upon community and place based notions of nostalgia and community. What is striking in the analysis is the similarities in the way in which Woolworths is mobilised as a symbol by the general public and elites; albeit with varying outcomes and affects. In presenting the analysis the paper demonstrates a processual framing as providing a fruitful approach to the combination of different approaches and fields of inquiry (sociology, geography, and political science) without diminishing their distinct contributions.

Recession, Credit Crunch, Community, Economy, The High-Street, Welsh Assembly Government, Woolworths, Consumption