Today, work and consumption are notably blurred. Consumption matters are found to make inroads into the realm of work, while consumption gains traction in the domain of production. This special issue of ephemera gets to the heart of this phenomenon. Covering a range of themes – genetic testing, self-quantification, migration, popular media and modern workplaces – the contributions to this issue call attention to the ethico-politics of productive and consumptive aspects of contemporary life. Specifically, the contributions address practices that, under capitalism, fall prey to self-perpetuating accumulation, as well as reproduction and sedimentation of social divisions, which shape who we are, what we do and how we relate.