Unboxing the Addictive Blind Boxes: Investment, Social Enculturation, and Authorial Control Through Mediated Collection, Exchange and Resale of Figurines


This article situates the "Blind Box" consumption, collection and prosumption practices in China within globalisation and media mix, which is to consume and resell media merchandises and toys in opaque packages as probability goods. We re-centre the focus of consumer culture studies to the then much neglected "missing child" and now the "emerging adult" in a globalising world. Based on our ethnographical research, namely participant observation and in-depth interviews, we argue that Chinese urban youth consume, collect and resell Blind Boxes for both individual and social motivations under a social enculturation process. To be specific, they accumulate social capital and gain authorial control through affective and economic investments and mediated collection and exchange of figurines in a post-socialist and consumerist society.

Author Information
Thomas William Whyke, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, China

Paper Information
Conference: ACSS2022
Stream: Cultural and Media Studies

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon