Sharing is a fundamental consumer behavior that we have either tended to overlook or to confuse with commodity exchange and gift giving. Sharing is a distinct, ancient, and increasingly vital consumer research topic that bears on a broad array of consumption issues ranging from sharing household resources versus atomized family possessions to file sharing versus intellectual property rights. This theoretical review distinguishes between sharing in and sharing out, and suggests that sharing in dissolves interpersonal boundaries posed by materialism and possession attachment through expanding the aggregate extended self. However, such sharing is challenged by growing market commoditization. Implications for consumer theory and research are considered. (c) 2009 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
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