Materiality, Agency, and the Constitution of Consuming Subjects: Insights for Consumer Research
Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 32, pp. 439-443, 2005
15 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2008 Last revised: 8 Jun 2009
Date Written: 2005
Acknowledging underlying theories of materiality encourages researchers to comprehend selves that form in relation to experiential modes of otherness – including aspects of material culture – and that emerge in contexts constituted through consumption practices and consumer culture. The called-for theoretical coherence and conceptual transparency point out the potential for understanding multiple investigative starting points, which draw upon materiality based notions of subject formation, intersubjectivity and subject/object relations, and moreover engage concerns over pre-emptively designating particular notions of relevant “entities,” such as subject and object, and their apparent boundaries, or lack thereof. In Miller’s view (1987), material culture participates in the larger process of the development of any possible subject/subjectivity; that is, he insists upon the overall material environment’s role in creating us as subjects/selves. Members of a consumer culture – in which the processes of consumption facilitate and constitute contexts basic to human life – engage in and are engaged by particular consumption activities, objects and meanings that have the potential to create, transform, intensify or call into question consumer subject identity.
Keywords: consumer research, agency, identity, materiality, subjectivity, consumption
JEL Classification: M3, M37, Z10, E20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation