The ‘new sharing economy’ is a growing phenomenon across the Global North. It claims to transform relationships of production and consumption in a way that can improve our lives, reduce environmental impacts, and reduce the cost of living. Amidst various economic, environmental, and other crises, this message has strong resonance. Yet, it is not without controversy, and there have been heated debates over negative dimensions for workers and consumers alike. This book stretches far beyond the sharing economy as it is popularly defined, and explores the complex intersections of ‘sharing’ and ‘the economy’, and how a better understanding of these relationships might help us address the multiple crises that confront contemporary societies.
The contributors to this book explore a wide diversity of sharing systems and practices from various empirical case studies, ranging from hospitality to seed-swapping, and from indigenous land rights to alcohol consumption. In each chapter, a different crisis or vulnerability frames and shapes the study, allowing contributors to unpick the ways in which crisis and sharing relate to each other in real life. The book is divided into three thematic sections. Following an extended introduction to the themes and ideas of the book by the editors, the first section foregrounds the shaping of sharing practices by already existing or anticipated crises. The second section focuses on the lived relations between sharing and economic practice. In the third section, authors conclude the book by exploring the possibilities and challenges for creating alternative economic forms grounded in practices of sharing.
This edited volume makes a major, original contribution towards academic understandings of sharing economies in the context of crises. It is suitable for both students and academics who are interested in political economy, economic geography and consumption.