Well, you could. If you spent some money, you could be the owner of a Metaverse real estate. With its augmented and virtual reality technologies, the Metaverse extends your physical world. But can you actually own something in an extended reality, a virtual space, like the Metaverse? And how do such forms of digital consumption change our understanding of possessions and ownership?
Russell Belk (York University), Mariam Humayun (University of Ottawa) and Myriam Brouard (University of Ottawa) took a closer look at the Metaverse, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), cryptocurrencies and other forms of digital and virtual consumption. In their recent article, they discuss problems that arise as metaverses evolve and change, as well as consequences of fractional ownership and fractional property rights. For instance, if you own a real-world item (e.g., a painting) you have the right to modify it (e.g., cut it up), to sell it to someone else, or to dispose of it. But ownership of virtual objects is complicated, and in some ways different from ownership of physical objects, as Belk, Humayun, and Brouard (2022) explain. By buying an NFT, you usually do not gain the right to manipulate it, nor do you usually gain any right (like copyright or intellectual property rights) to the original art object (whether it be physical or digital). Will our understanding of ownership change in light of these developments?
You can find more about the research of Belk, Humayun, and Brouard (2022) here.
Sometimes we give away the things we love – the things we treasure the most and that define who we are. How do people cope with this loss when they move to another city, lose their goods due to a natural disaster or simply exchange all their physical goods, like a CD, with digital ones?
As part of the opening of the POP Library at the WU Vienna, Bernadette Kamleitner spoke with Russell Belk about the science of ownership. They discuss the role of ownership in society and people’s reaction to losing their most valuable possessions. Find out more about the science of ownership in the video below.
The concepts of possession, ownership and property play a fundamental role for human behaviour, social interactions and economic transactions. There are numerous resources from various disciplines dealing with exciting and surprising findings on ownership, which are now bundled and curated in the new special POP collection.
To get a first impression of the physical side of the POP (Possession, Ownership & Property) collection and to find out why world-leading experts (Floyd Rudmin, Russ Belk, Ori Friedman, Michael Heller, Jennifer Inauen, Carey Morewedge, Joann Peck, Jon Pierce, and Federico Rossano) think that ownership is an interesting topic to study and what research finding on the issue surprised them the most watch this video.
In the spirit of last week’s interview feature, we would like to remind you about a current call for papers on “Consumer Ownership & Sharing” for the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, which is co-edited by Russell Belk and Linda Price. Submission deadline is April 1, 2015.
They are basically looking for empirical as well as conceptual papers that address aspects and issues in the areas of ownership and sharing by consumers. All relevant theoretical perspectives and empirical methods are welcomed. Examples of topical areas that might be addressed include:
Ownership: Psychology of ownership, sociology of ownership, history and prehistory of ownership, new perspectives on endowment effects, intellectual property, children’s possession and ownership, cultural influences on modes of ownership, collective and societal ownership, environmental issues in ownership, burdens of ownership,limits of ownership, privacy and ownership
Sharing: Collaborative consumption, role of the internet in sharing, sharing intangible or digital goods, fictitious commodities, sharing during childhood, renting, leasing, hiring, and buying, communal living, environmental issues in sharing/repurposing, sharing public goods, Information sharing and social media, file sharing
“Perhaps the greatest surprise is how extremely proprietary we can be about certain possessions and at the same time how extremely generous we can be with many of our possessions.”
You may have seen that we have this section called Featured, where we collect interviews with leading scholars and those who have advanced the field of ownership. The section is by far not exhaustive and there are many more interviews to come.
That said we are more than excited to prominently present the first interview with Russell Belk. Russell is a real thought leader in the field of ownership, meaning of possessions, sharing, materialism, gift-giving and research on the extended self and has authored and co-authored more than 550 top journal articles and books. He currently holds the position as Professor and Kraft Foods Canada Chair in Marketing at the Schulich School of Business at York University. Further, he is past president of the International Association of Marketing and Development, and is a fellow, past president, and Film Festival co-founder in the Association for Consumer Research.
In his interview he talks about how he got involved and – more importantly – so passionate about the topic, what his favorite possession is and how he sees the field of ownership in the future. In order to read the full article, click here.