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Materials Matter: An Exploration of the Curatorial Practices of Consumers as Collectors

Consumer Culture Theory

ISBN: 978-1-78635-496-9, eISBN: 978-1-78635-495-2

Publication date: 28 November 2016



The purpose of this study is to examine the interplay between the curatorial practices of consumers as collectors and the materiality of the collected objects. In particular, this study explores how the material substances of collected objects shapes curatorial practices and how the ongoing use of the collected objects challenges curatorial practices.


Taking advantage of the publicization of once-private collections on social media, we collect 111 YouTube videos created by plastic shoe aficionados. Drawing from visual anthropology and theorizations of materiality, we analyze consumer interactions with the objects they collect.


This study’s findings elucidate consumers’ interactions with the material substances of the objects they collect and demonstrate how these interactions shape the ways in which consumers curate their collections, including how they wear, care for, catalog, and display the collected objects.

Research implications

Our findings have implications for theorization on consumer collections, consumer identity, and consumer participation in brand communities and are relevant for consumer researchers who study the interactions and relationships between consumers and consumption objects.


This study is the first to re-examine consumers as collectors to extend and update consumer research on the curatorial practices of physical, wearable collectibles. This study sets the foundations for further research to advance our understanding of consumers as collectors as well as to illuminate other theories and aspects of consumer research that consider consumer–object interactions.




The authors would like to thank the reviewers and participants in the CCT track of the 2015 ANZMAC conference, where a prior version of this study was presented, and to reviewers at the 2016 CCT conference. The authors acknowledge CONICYT/FONDECYT for funding this project (CONICYT FONDECYT/INICIACION/11130536).


Scaraboto, D., Ferreira, M.C. and Chung, E. (2016), "Materials Matter: An Exploration of the Curatorial Practices of Consumers as Collectors", Consumer Culture Theory (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 18), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 217-243.



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