Transformations in digital virtual consumption

Authored by: Janice Denegri-Knott , Rebecca Jenkins , Mike Molesworth

The Routledge Handbook of Digital Consumption

Print publication date:  September  2022
Online publication date:  September  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032329598
eBook ISBN: 9781003317524
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, we consider digital virtual consumption (DVC) as a location that combines aspects of materiality and the imagination allowing for new experiences and with them transformations in consumers and their practices. We map out possible DVC practices and more specifically focus on the moments of reflection and transformation these may produce in individuals and discuss how digital media may be enabling or constraining these. To that end we show how DVC practices are shaped by the coming together of digital affordances and consumers’ own mediations. What begins in consumers’ imagination (virtual consumption) as a goal of ‘becoming someone’ or ‘doing something’, together with consumers’ intentionality and know-how in relation to specific platform affordances in DVC shape the texture and trajectory of DVC practices themselves (stimulating desire, actualizing daydreams and fantasy and supporting self-experimentation and transformation). Acknowledging high-, mid- and low–level affordances allows us to see the correspondence between consumer mediations and platform infrastructure in shaping DVC practices. High-level affordances correspond to the contents of virtual consumption (desired transformation sustained by imaginative thinking), while mid-level and low-level affordances correspond to situated, consumer intentions and know-how in relation to a specific platform.

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