Accessibility navigation

Possession work on hosted digital consumption objects as consumer ensnarement

Molesworth, M., Watkins, R. and Denegri-Knott, J. (2018) Possession work on hosted digital consumption objects as consumer ensnarement. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 1 (2). pp. 246-261. ISSN 2378-1823

Text - Accepted Version
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1086/685474


This article extends prior critical discussions of digital prosumption by demonstrating that prosumer-reliant online business models represent new ways to valorize consumer labor 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 singularize 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 while, for companies, ensnarement is as an attractive mechanism for ongoing valorization of consumers’ “free labor,” it presents significant consequences for ensnared consumers who may be subject not only to ongoing financial exploitation but also to restricted and unstable interactions with digital possessions that may hold significant personal meaning.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:79215
Publisher:University of Chicago Press


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation