Ludic Agency and Retail Spectacle

Robert V. Kozinets*, John F. Sherry, Diana Storm, Adam Duhachek, Krittinee Nuttavuthisit, Benét DeBerry-Spence

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Spectacular, themed environments have been theorized as places where play is limited and consumer agency is overpowered. In a multiperspectival ethnographic engagement with ESPN Zone Chicago, we find consumers resisting the rules, but only to a limited degree. Spectacular consumption possesses a do-it-yourself quality unrecognized in prior theory. Technology and screens are important to this form of play, which exhibits a transcendent character built of liminoid elements and consumer fantasy. Yet, even in ostensibly overpowering spectacular consumption environments, consumption still is negotiated dialectically; consumer and producer interests are embedded in one another in a process of "interagency.".
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)658-672
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Experiential Consumption
  • Ethnography
  • Leisure and Recreation
  • Retailing and Store Image
  • Sociological Theories/Analysis

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