Quotation by John Carroll

We should not leave Shopping World without questioning our initial assumption, that here we are in the modern agora. The agora of the classical Greek city was similar, in being the market-place and yet serving as much more, indeed as the most important public space. When a citizen left the privacy of his home, wishing to engage in public life, most likely he went to the agora. Shopping World at its most general is a public space. It answers to one of the most basic of human needs, that for society in the sense of a defined space among people in which to see and be seen, in which to move and to meet, to linger and to evade, a space at the same time in which to conduct some of life's important business—in this case shopping. The Greek agora, however, was different in one crucial respect, a difference that highlights a momentous development in modern life. It was surrounded by civic buildings and temples; it served as the daily centre not only of commerce, but also of religious, political, judicial, and indeed general social life. To be in public in ancient Athens meant to be a citizen, and likely enough to be engaged in civic duties. In modern life, by contrast, the areas of political action have become so remote that to be in public for a person has lost all connotation of being a responsible citizen with duties to his community.
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