Digital consumption and socio-normative vulnerability

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Abstract

Digital consumption is expanding human boundaries and offering us unprecedented opportunities, while simultaneously redefining human capabilities, eroding individuality, and compromising ethical purpose; this is giving rise to a condition of digital consumerism through technological overdependence. Individuals' self-preserving autonomy, reasoning, ideologies, and ethical status are being compromised due to a growing compulsion for digital consumption, which is leading to the onset of digital harm. This study offers novel insights into the technological interventions that are giving rise to excessive digital consumption leading to digital harm. It also suggests how the effects of such harm can be mitigated through the lenses of two complementary theories: Self-determination theory (SDT) and Agentic theory. We identify five constructs of digital harm through epistemic discourse analysis and use thematic analysis to examine how the digital harm that affects individual rationality, maturity and autonomy can be mitigated by practising attributes of SDT and Agentic theory. This study shows the extent to which SDT and Agentic theory can help to explain how people collectively conceptualize, adapt, define and use the technology that constrains them as self-realizing rational beings.

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Kanungo, R. P., Gupta, S., Patel, P., Prikshat, V., & Liu, R. (2022). Digital consumption and socio-normative vulnerability. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2022.121808

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