Consumption and Practice Unfolding Consumptive Moments and the Entanglement with Productive Aspects

University dissertation from Jönköping : Jönköping International Business School

Abstract: This thesis investigates consumption through a practice-theoretical perspective. Practices are routinized sets of human activity involving doings, meanings, and objects. Previous work has suggested conceiving of consumption as moments in practices. Yet, empirical and conceptual blind spots exist when it comes to understanding how consumption operates as practice moments. This thesis sets out to develop this conception of consumption by examining how consumption unfolds as practice moments.The study of consumption in relation to practices, however, is complicated by long-standing debates in marketing and business literature that impart the notion of consumption being entangled with production in various ways. These debates infuse the idea that in order to understand consumption one must also pay attention to its links with productive aspects.By treating practices as the empirical and theoretical sites for consumption and its entanglement with productive aspects, this thesis offers an alternative way of researching and theorizing consumption in relation to practice, and in relation to productive aspects. It presents four papers that draw on qualitative and quantitative empirical data collected in the contexts of online community practices, discursive re-enchantment practices, electric guitar playing, and gardening.The collective findings and analysis of the four papers reveal how consumption unfolds as practice moments in terms of ingredient, momentum, transformation, and consequence. Unfolding consumption in this way offers conceptual specification of its operation in relation to practices. Moreover, it allows theorization of how consumptive moments are linked to productive aspects in two ways: first, by specifying how consumptive moments are inherently productive; and second, by giving insight into the dyadic relation between consumptive and productive practice moments.Rather than collapsing consumption and production into one and the same or treating them as inherent in roles of consumers, producers, and prosumers, as advocated by previous works, this thesis suggests that consumption and production are useful analytical categories if framed as moments inherent in the practices that comprise our marketplaces and cultures. Several relevant implications emerge from this understanding regarding the concept of prosumption, the development of practice theory, understanding the operation of consumption in consumer culture, theorizing value creation, and the shaping of a practice-oriented marketing approach.