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Possession work on hosted digital consumption objects as consumer ensnarement

Molesworth, Mike, Watkins, Rebecca D. and Denegri-Knott, Janice 2016. Possession work on hosted digital consumption objects as consumer ensnarement. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research 1 (2) , pp. 246-261. 10.1086/685474

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This paper extends prior critical discussions of digital prosumption by demonstrating that prosumer reliant online business models represent new ways to valorise consumer labour through the creation of digital consumption objects (DCOs) that are simultaneously enacted as assets by companies, and as possessions by consumers. We argue that this multiplicity means that consumers’ ‘possession work’ no longer serves to separate these objects from the market sphere, as proposed in prior literature. This produces a new form of consumer lock-in as consumers’ efforts to singularise DCOs ensnare them within market relations. We compare consumer ensnarement to other forms of lock-in mechanisms including psychological attachments seen in ‘brand love’, proprietary tie-ins, and access-based market systems in order to consider the implications of such ensnarement mechanisms. We propose that whilst for companies’ ensnarement is as an attractive mechanism for on-going valorisation of consumers’ ‘free labour’, it presents significant consequences for ensnared consumers who may be subject not only to on-going financial exploitation but also to restricted and unstable interactions with digital possessions that may hold significant personal meaning.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 22/06/2016)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISSN: 2378-1815
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2019 04:49

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