How Digital Worlds Become Material: An Ethnographic and Netnographic Investigation in Second Life

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/135859
Title: How Digital Worlds Become Material: An Ethnographic and Netnographic Investigation in Second Life
Author: Kedzior, Richard
Contributor: Svenska handelshögskolan, institutionen för marknadsföring, marknadsföring
Hanken School of Economics, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Belongs to series: Economics and Society – 281
ISSN: 0424-7256 (printed)
2242-699X (PDF)
ISBN: 978-952-232-253-1 (printed)
978-952-232-254-8 (PDF)
Abstract: Changes in consumption related to digital technologies, digitization and the emergence of new media have been topics of great interest to both academics and managers. The backbone of all these changes, the Internet has penetrated consumers’ daily lives and changed the way they work, shop and socialize. The new digital spaces (e.g., social networking sites, massively multiplayer online games, or online virtual worlds) have become important conduits for sociality and consumption as evidenced by the time and money consumers spend online. Yet, frequently the social, cultural and economic significance of digital worlds has been dismissed due to their “immaterial” character. The evidence discussed in this volume demonstrates that consumers experience digital worlds as material, yet materiality in this instance transcends the conventional notions of tangibility and physicality. Thus, this study introduces the concept of digital materiality to more accurately describe the phenomenon of materiality in digital environments, and focuses on the ways in which it emerges in digital worlds. To this end, presented here conceptual framework maps out five distinct processes through which digital worlds become material to their consumers. Each of these processes is driven by a set of consumer motivations which correspond to consumer perceptions of digital materiality. Apart from the theoretical and conceptual contributions to academic literature, this research offers a number of managerial implications which can benefit professionals working with digital media. The ideas discussed here may be especially valuable for public policy makers and product managers struggling with the inherent instability of digital materiality. Some of the insights can also cast light on ways in which businesses could expand their market offering by complementing existing product lines with either digital or physical components. This interdisciplinary work is positioned within Consumer Culture Theory and Digital Consumption Studies, and draws on the extant literature in consumer research, cultural studies, anthropology, and human-computer interaction. Richard Kedzior is an Assistant Professor of Markets, Innovation and Design at the School of Management, Bucknell University. He is a consumer researcher who studies phenomena at the intersection of technology and culture.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/135859
Date: 2014-09-05
Subject: digital materiality
digital consumption
digital virtual consumption
consumer culture theory
ethnography
netnography


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