Appropriation, in its most basic sense, is the process of taking possession. Its potential meanings within the study of consumption are therefore diverse: from the first principles of production, where the economy appropriates natural resources; through the appropriation of labor by capital; and through uses of “exotic” cultural resources to sell commodities; to the processes through which generic commodities and advanced technologies are actively assimilated to specific locales, frameworks of meaning, and patterns of everyday life.

Because it is about taking possession, the concept of appropriation can illuminate relationships throughout the processes that converge in moments of consumption. The relations of production that result in consumer products and services can be seen to have their roots first in the appropriation of natural resources. The concept has ...

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