A Biographical Study of Mobile Phones as Cherished Possessions

Danica Gilbert


Current consumer research focuses on possessions with one biography, or possessions with many biographies due to multiple owners. Findings uncover the presence of two biographies co-existing within one possession, a contractual mobile phone. Furthermore, this object is neither fully owned, nor rented temporarily, contrasting to existing literature. The research is phenomenological, with a combined methodology of a biographical letter written by participants, followed by a face-to-face interview. The sample included nine participants from the south of England, and explored their mobile phone experiences. From this data, this article explores the mobile phone's biography and the affect had on its biographical stage and network. This research found that a contractual mobile phone embodies the biography of the device and the biography of the digital content. Attachment to the device was ephemeral, however the digital content displayed ongoing singularization. From this, the relationships consumers have with mobile phones as valued possessions are identified.


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