Consumption experience: An expanded view
Date of this version
consumption experience; experiential consumption; structure; anti-structure; function; anti-function, ; liberatory; performance; stochastic; adventure
Experience has become a primary means by which we understand post-industrial, consumer societies. While we have learned much about consumption experiences, most studies have relied on theories whose underlying assumptions have restricted our understanding of this important topic. More specifically, while the experiential literature has expanded our perspective of the broader structures of consumption experiences, it has limited our understanding by ascribing a function(s) to these experiences. By interrogating not merely the empirical findings, but also the theoretical (and methodological) assumptions underlying the extant literature, this paper aims both to critique and extend our current understanding of consumption experiences. Towards this end, we propose a framework that examines consumption experiences on the dimensions of structural relations and functional consequences. Based on the corresponding sub-dimensions of structure, anti-structure, function, and anti-function, we identify four primary types of consumption experience: performance, liberatory, stochastic, and adventure. A detailed description of each type of consumption experience is provided, with special emphasis given to anti-functional experiences, the nature of which both challenges and expands our deeper understanding of experiential consumption.