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Sharing Culture: on definitions, values, and emergence

2017-2018 | Academic Journal Paper
The Sociological Review Monograph Series: 'Unboxing the Sharing Economy' |  monograph  |  buy a copy

Sharing practices have increased over the last decade as a byproduct of the economic recession and the wider use of online services, creating the hype of ‘Sharing Economy’. However, sharing economy as defined today includes contradictory cases of renting, sharing, commoning, collaboration, solidarity, and typical businesses. This article focuses on cases that outline sharing as an act that facilitates a transition of urban communities towards places that are socially interactive and resourceful. Those practices are defined as ‘Sharing Culture’. Sharing culture relates to social networks that grow informally within a region and have as their goal to co-produce, manage and share resources, time, services, knowledge, information, and support based on solidarity rather than economic profit. Ultimately, sharing culture creates an alternative pathway for citizens to serve daily needs in a more sustainable, resourceful, and socially engaging manner by investing in regional and local assets. Because sharing culture is tightly related to the everyday and the local, the social construct of a region as well as the physical design influence how and where it emerges. Through a theoretical review of sharing practices and empirical data from a short selection of sharing culture cases, this article explores what sharing culture is, how it emerges, and highlights the importance of physical space in the process of diffusion within an area. The goal of this article is twofold: first, to provide a new theoretical framework, that of the sharing culture, which enriches the current debate on sharing and collaborative practices and distances itself from economic transactions of sharing economy, while focusing on human needs and characteristics of solidarity. Second, the article intends to reveal the lack of systematic research on how these practices are influenced by physical space.

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