Skip to main content

"Kind of Mine, Kind of Not”: Digital Possessions and Affordance Misalignment.

Mardon, R., Denegri-Knott, J. and Molesworth, M., 2023. "Kind of Mine, Kind of Not”: Digital Possessions and Affordance Misalignment. Journal of Consumer Research. (In Press)

Full text available as:

Kind of Mine, Kind of Not - Digital Possessions and Affordance Misalignment.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1093/jcr/ucac057


The objects we consume increasingly exist in digital form, from audiobooks and digital photographs to social media profiles and avatars. Digital objects are often argued to be less valued, personally meaningful, and self-relevant than their physical counterparts and are consequently dismissed as poor candidates for possession. Yet, studies have identified highly meaningful, even irreplaceable, digital possessions. In this article, we account for these contradictory narratives surrounding digital possessions, arguing that digital objects are not inherently unsuited to possession, but rather their affordances may not align with consumers’ imagined affordances (i.e., the object affordances that consumers anticipate). Drawing from a qualitative study of 25 consumers and their digital possessions, we identify three recurring types of affordance misalignment—missing affordances, covert affordances, and deficient affordances—that mediate how consumers and digital objects interact (pragmatic mediation) and, consequently, consumers’ experiences of, and beliefs surrounding, digital objects as possessions (hermeneutic mediation). We demonstrate that these affordance misalignments can create obstacles to consumers’ desired experiences of possession and document consumers’ attempts to overcome these obstacles by employing alignment strategies, with varied behavioral outcomes. This article advances debates surrounding digital possessions and presents an enriched affordance theory lens that provides new insights into possession

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:possession; digital objects; digital possessions; affordances; imagined affordances; postphenomenology
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:38118
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:03 Feb 2023 11:31
Last Modified:13 Dec 2023 01:08


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -