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Timeflow: How Consumption Practices Shape Consumers' Temporal Experiences

Niklas Woermann and Joonas Rokka

Journal of Consumer Research, 2015, vol. 41, issue 6, 1486 - 1508

Abstract: While the importance of the temporal dimension for both positive and negative consumption experiences has been well understood, no general theory exists to explain how consumers' temporal experiences come about. We theorize temporal experiences as an effect of performing consumption practices in order to move from assessing isolated contextual variables to a more holistic understanding. The timeflow of a practice is defined as its ability to evoke an experienced temporality that cannot be reduced to either subjective "inner" time or cosmic "outer" time. On the basis of a longitudinal ethnography of temporality in two lifestyle sports--freeskiing and paintball--we find that five practice elements shape temporal experience: material set-up, bodily routines and skills, teleoaffective structures, rules, and cultural understandings. Misalignments of practice elements induce experiences of temporal drag or rush associated with experiences such as boredom and stress. We contribute to prior research on consumption experiences, waiting, and servicescapes.

Date: 2015
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