'I'll sell this and I'll buy them that': EBay and the management of possessions as stock

Janice Denegri-Knott, Mike Molesworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we document practices associated with selecting and selling previously owned goods through the online auction house and marketplace, eBay. More specifically, we discuss the processes through which the economic or exchange values of previously owned goods are re-activated and the role eBay plays in facilitating such practices. Drawing from phenomenological interviews with heavy eBay users from various back-grounds living in the South of England, we discuss key emerging themes on the ways in which eBay is used for the disposal of goods. We find that eBay fuels practices of disposal that may encourage the transformation of the humble pre-owned good into valuable stock. Besides those curative practices which have been captured in previous research into the divestment of possessions we find that work of another kind is required to move a used good back to a commodity phase in its career. We see this as turning used goods into stock. This transformation accelerates a good's biography as it enters the realm of the owned possession and then quickly returned to a sphere of exchange. In such process, goods become assets which are reinvested to fuel promiscuous consumer behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-315
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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