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The Meaning of Things: Domestic Symbols and the Self

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... Materialism is defined as "the importance ascribed to the ownership and acquisition of material goods in achieving major life goals or desired states" (Richins, 2004, p. 210). From a motivational standpoint, Csikszentmihalyi and Rochberg-Halton (1981) made the distinction between conceiving materialism 'as a means' vs. 'as an end' (i.e., instrumental vs. terminal materialism). Materialism has variously been described as a personality trait (Belk, 1985), a cultural characteristic (Inglehart, 1990) or as a personal value (Richins & Dawson, 1992). ...
... Although a moderate degree of envy could be beneficial for striving purposes, when taken to the extreme, envy is a destructive trait, associated with anti-social behaviors and psychological disorders (Burroughs & Rindfleisch 2002). Terminal materialism (Csikszentmihalyi & Rochberg-Halton, 1981) depicts consumption 'as an end', representing the stereotypical impression that materialism, due to its habit-forming and insatiable character, ultimately has a negative impact on consumer well-being. Terminal materialism may take hold when individuals come to rely on their possessions as a way of coping with having a deficiency of meaningful interpersonal relationships (Rindfleisch et al., 1997). ...
... An important methodological takeaway here is how one assesses or operationalizes materialism. The measures of materialism that focus on the desire for money or financial success-which aspects reflecting instrumental materialism, rather than terminal materialism (Csikszentmihalyi & Rochberg-Halton, 1981)-are relatively weak predictors of well-being. In other words, factors not directly related to money may be especially important for well-being. ...
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The acculturation process of adjusting to life in North America comes with challenges and often leads to culture shock. To promote subjective well-being, immigrants with an ingroup (vs outgroup) orientation may cling tightly to their original culture (integrate with the mainstream). Both paths can be facilitated by social media usage, and through reference group influence, both may foster materialism. Leveraging psychological theories connected to self-concept, we examine how minorities’ subjective well-being and materialism are indirectly (through social media usage) and directly related to ethnic identity, acculturation to mainstream society, identification with global consumer culture (IDGCC), and cosmopolitanism, using a sample drawn from two immigrant communities. While ethnic identity and acculturation did not foster social media usage, cosmopolitanism, and identification with GCC did. Materialism, which was encouraged by IDGCC, was negatively linked to subjective well-being. Social media usage did not exacerbate materialism, and it was independent of subjective well-being.
... The interview protocol was adapted from similar work by Odom et al. (2009) investigating product attachment and disposal, which identified a wide range of products of attachment. The question prompts utilized were originally derived from Csíkszentmihályi and Rochberg-Halton (1981 As the interviews were semi-structured, answers to these initial prompts were then followed with further questions utilizing a laddering technique (Reynolds & Gutman, 1988) to probe for further meaning, values, and explanation of deeper reasons for attachment and associated product usage behavior. The laddering technique seemed additionally beneficial with interviewees who needed time to gradually move into detail in the emotionally sensitive conversations and reflect in the discussion. ...
... By definition, product attachment involves a subjective person-product relationship, and the meaning of a product is constructed and solidified by unique personal narratives over time (Csikszentmihalyi & Rochberg-Halton, 1981). As such, an important opportunity for design is continuing to find ways to integrate users' agency in the creation of the product's meaning, from product creation, through to the design of activities and services such as maintenance, repair, or modification that further extend both physical and psychological aspects of the product over time. ...
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Research on product attachment has shown that users tend to retain emotionally meaningful products longer and delay their disposal. This has been suggested to be more environmentally sustainable, though little empirical evidence of the actual long-term use of these products is available. Two studies sought to understand the factors of product attachment and their role in sustainable product usage behavior. Study 1 involved qualitative semi-structured interviews to understand users’ relationships with meaningful product possessions and how this connected to their long-term product use. Through an online questionnaire, Study 2 quantitatively investigated the relative roles of factors of product attachment in product usage behaviors. The results from both studies showed differing patterns of product use. While at times, products of attachment are used actively for their practical utilitarian purpose, at other times, they are set aside for more passive psychological reasons. In this passive use pathway, evidence was found of increased redundant product consumption to satisfy practical needs, contrary to expectations expressed in previous literature. Perceived irreplaceability of a product, while being most influential in stimulating higher levels of attachment, was associated with more passive use and redundant product consumption. This paper discusses implications for design practice with future research directions.
... Toys played hardly any role anymore and stuffed animals decreased drastically in importance (although still forming a prominent category). At the same time, objects that reflect personal interests and possibly also processes of identity formation (i.e., clothing and jewelry as well as objects that support hobbies; see Csikszentmihalyi & Rochberg-Halton, 1981;Dyl & Wapner, 1996;Kamptner, 1991;Myers, 1985) accounted for about three quarters of the remembered objects. ...
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Beloved objects are cherished and valued possessions that we feel attached to. Previous research has demonstrated that the functions of beloved objects change across a lifespan. However, beloved objects may not only be appreciated because of their functions but also because of their sensory qualities. We hypothesised that the sensory experiences with beloved objects show a developmental trajectory and that the proximal senses (touch, taste, smell) become less important across childhood and adolescence, while the distant senses (vision, hearing) become more important. Moreover, we assumed that the observed changes in the sensory experiences are associated with the corresponding changes of functions across life stages. Building on the idea that those (perceptual) aspects of our environment that are particularly important to us are preferentially stored in memory, we hypothesised that this developmental trajectory would also be reflected in retrospective accounts. Hence, participants (N = 225) were asked to remember beloved objects from early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence, to describe their functions and to answer questions regarding their sensory experiences with the objects. The mixed methods data analyses confirmed our hypotheses. Taken together, our study illustrates and underlines the importance of beloved objects for thinking, behaviour, memory, and identity.
... John Casti has formalized this argument explicitly (Casti, 2010). Others have implied similar ideas about consumption, either by arguing that taste has, like a phenomenon of nature, its own patterns (Blumer, 1969;Vejlgaard, 2008) or that consumption is beneficial for psychological development (Miller, 1992;Csikszentmihalyi & Rochberg-Halton, 2002). The empirical findings show that taste, indeed, follows patterns (Vejlgaard, 2008). ...
... It is well established that objects exert a powerful presence in human experience (see for example, Csikszentmihalyi & Halton, 1981). Although excesses of mass-production and consumption have meant that the majority of today's products lack intrinsic value and enduring memory as material objects, the things we surround ourselves with in our daily lives have the potential to be imbued with meaning that surpasses mere practical utility (Walker, 2014). ...
... Prosumers who successfully produce their own products can be given an elevated status from peers (Wolf et al., 2020), by communicating personal qualities and the ability to control their environment (Csikszentmihalyi & Rochberg-Halton, 1981). ...
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Prosumers are individuals who produce goods they consume themselves. The prosumption literature suggests that prosumption can be enhanced through knowledge sharing, creativity and innovation, and developing expertise. In this article, we investigate the relationships between prosumption experiences, prosumption values, and affinity with a prosumption activity. We use a structural equation model approach to evaluate the relationships between these constructs and assume that affinity can mediate the relationship between prosumption experiences and values. We collect empirical data from prosumers who homebrew their own beer and confirm that prosumption experiences and values are positively related, and that affinity mediates the relationship between experiences and values. Implications deriving from these findings are discussed along with directions for future research.
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How might urban relocation unfold as a time of social reproduction? Taking the case of Zhongxin Village in Taipei, a military settlement that was relocated in 2016, I show in this article that while mainland Chinese veterans experienced the move with reluctance, their Taiwanese wives readily stepped up to bridge family histories. Offering new ethnography on ‘family repair’ and the arranging of ancestral altars, I suggest that loss is often not the only force at play when moving home. The Taiwanese wives of Zhongxin Village recount family stories that are elicited through their engagement with ‘biographical objects’. They transmit family lore through daily acts of care even as they project aspirations for the futures of their descendants onto the furnishing of new flats. This marriage of materiality, aspiration, repair, and affect shows that relocation can encourage the social reproduction of the family and, for some, a move from remembrance to aspiration. Relocaliser le futur : objets biographiques, aspiration et réparation dans la ville de Taipei Résumé Comment la relocalisation urbaine peut‐elle se dérouler comme un moment de reproduction sociale ? En prenant le cas du village de Zhongxing à Taipei, une colonie militaire relocalisée en 2016, l'autrice montre dans cet article que si les vétérans de Chine continentale ont vécu le déménagement avec réticence, leurs épouses taïwanaises se sont volontiers mobilisées pour rapprocher les histoires familiales. En proposant une nouvelle ethnographie sur la « réparation familiale » et l'aménagement des autels ancestraux, l'autrice suggère qu'un déménagement n'implique pas uniquement la perte. Les épouses taïwanaises du village de Zhongxing racontent des histoires familiales suscitées par leur relation avec des « objets biographiques ». Elles transmettent les traditions familiales à travers des soins quotidiens, et dans le même temps, elles projettent leurs aspirations concernant l'avenir de leurs descendants sur l'ameublement de nouveaux appartements. Ce mariage de la matérialité, de l'aspiration, de la réparation et de l'affect montre que la relocalisation peut encourager la reproduction sociale de la famille et, pour certains, le passage du souvenir à l'aspiration.
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L’expérience de marque en magasin est un levier de construction du capital marque et du capital client, source de création de valeur pour la marque (revue de littérature et études exploratoires). Sa qualité est liée à sa capacité à servir ces objectifs. Le magasin de marque semble le lieu privilégié car les dimensions servicielles et expérientielles de l’expérience proposée sont conçues et mises en place par la marque elle-même. Elle est « authentiquement » de la marque (identification de la marque par l’expression de son contenu, authentification de l’expérience). C’est moins le cas dans les magasins de ses distributeurs où se côtoient l’expérience voulue par la marque, celle des concurrents et l’expérience proposée par l’enseigne. On peut parler de « multi-expériences ».Par ses attributs fonctionnels et transactionnels ainsi que ses dimensions émotionnelles et affectives, l’expérience en magasin crée de la valeur pour le consommateur (bénéfices économiques, pratiques, hédoniques, sociaux, psychologiques). Ses caractéristiques varient selon le lieu de vente et peuvent être recherchées par les consommateurs suivant leurs motivations expérientielles. Pour l’achat d’une marque, les individus ont le choix entre différentes propositions expérientielles dans un ensemble de considération de magasins. Recherchant une expérience et la valeur associée, ils choisissent un lieu de vente. Leur préférence est liée à la valeur attendue et à la qualité perçue que les marques doivent donc garantir. Pour créer cette valeur, elles doivent connaître les attentes expériencielles des consommateurs, comprendre sur quelles dimensions ils évaluent la qualité de l’expérience en magasin. Via une étude qualitative, nous avons recensé les attributs expérientiels de chaque canal, les caractéristiques d’une expérience en magasin « réussie », créatrice de valeur et les critères sur lesquels les individus jugent la qualité.L’objectif de la recherche est de vérifier si, dans le contexte « authentique » de ses propres magasins, la qualité de l’expérience de marque crée plus de valeur pour le consommateur et pour l’entreprise. Son originalité réside dans la mise en perspective de l’expérience de marque dans le contexte multi-expérientiel propre aux enseignes de distribution. Pour cela, nous proposons de mesurer et comparer la qualité de l’expérience de marque, la satisfaction et les répercussions relationnelles. L’objectif est également d’en valider les facteurs déterminants.Nous proposons une échelle de mesure de la qualité globale de l’expérience de marque en magasin, alliant des dimensions servicielles et expérientielles (intérêt méthodologique).L’intérêt théorique est, en premier lieu, de connaître les fonctions du magasin de marque : outil de communication ou/et de relation ? Second intérêt : la proposition du concept d’authenticité appliqué à l’expérience en magasin.L’intérêt managérial est d’identifier les leviers clés de l’expérience en magasin pour impacter la qualité perçue, la relation et les intentions comportementales. Les managers pourront confirmer l’efficacité de leur stratégie de distribution.D’après nos résultats, l’authenticité est décisive. La qualité perçue de l’expérience de la marque est meilleure dans ses propres magasins (idem satisfaction). Dans les deux types de magasins, elle impacte la satisfaction, l’attachement, les intentions de récit et de retour en magasin. En revanche, les répercussions sur la fidélité et l’attitude ne valent qu’en magasin de marque. Le sentiment de reconnaissance et la qualité du contact sont prépondérants.Les implications managériales son variées. Nous proposons des actions concrètes quel que soit le lieu de vente. Lieu de contact direct avec le consommateur, sans « l’entremise » d’un distributeur, le magasin de marque est un levier stratégique aujourd’hui et peut devenir, pour certaines marques, la clé de voûte d‘une une relation interpersonnelle qualifiée et durable avec leurs consommateurs.
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During the front end of innovation, teams embody abstract meanings into product concepts. The literature on Innovation of Meaning suggests that focusing on a single product‐user interaction supports this process. This Moment of Meaning facilitates the development of shared meaning and knowledge. We explore how the Moment of Meaning acts as a Boundary Object to support the innovation process. We study six Innovation of Meaning projects in different companies to explore how the Moment of Meaning supports the transition from abstract meaning to a concrete solution. Attending company meetings and workshops, we collected extensive qualitative data on the usage of the Moment of Meaning. We identify four uses of the Moment of Meaning. Depending on its degree of abstraction and perspective, it represents a Metaphor, a Product Vision, a Core Feature or an Experience Concept. Our study sheds light on the reification of meanings in early stages of innovation. Also, we highlight the potential evolution of Boundary Objects over time. To managers, we provide actionable knowledge on how a simple boundary object could ease the transition from an innovation strategy to a concrete product concept.
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Analysis of the material culture of an XVII century Dutch Ivory Flintlock Pistol and its relation with contemporary values of self-representation and luxury.
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