Studies highlighting the need for radical change in economic models and diffused collaborative practices that seem to have already undermined those models from the bottom have made sociology resume categories that were first born during last century’s season of global protest. However, many skeptically name utopia when market logics are denied in favour of conviviality and sharing, and one self-produces or barters instead of purchasing. The relevance of those creative practices is often minimized as they be only contingent reactions to an economic crisis that secludes youth from the labour market. This article addresses the contemporary features of prosumption and conviviality, to show their elements of novelty with the help of findings recently collected through qualitative interviews and case studies. From farming to design and fashion, from cohousing to coworking and crowdfunding, series of activities, supported by the new web 2.0 facilities, are transforming utopia in experience and project, by promoting a vaste range of networking cultures, environmental awareness, and creative political participation.
The use of «creativity», «creative industries», or «creative cities» as leitmotifs within the literature on urban development is not new and it finds its antecedents in other more classical approaches such as the role of «bohemians», «cultural industries» and «culture-led urban regeneration». Creativity has led to different paradigm shifts in productive relations and in the generation of innovation over the course of history (Jason 2011). The context of prosperity and growth that took a turn for the worse in 2008 had unequivocal consequences also for the creative sectors. Several authors that have geared their research towards this field (Banks and Deuze 2009; Gill and Pratt 2008 among others), debunked the concepts of creativity and creative class, as defined by Florida and provided empirical evidence that address the emergence of new forms of relationships between workers in creative sectors which have lot in common with the collaborative economy paradigm. This article addresses collaborative economy as a new way of conceptualizing collaboration and competition within creating industries. Departing from an analysis of the most recent literature on the topic (Botsman - Rogers 2010; Arvidsson - Peitersen 2013; Kostakis - Bauwens 2014; Benkler 2004), the overall objective of this article is to apply an understanding of how collaborative economy is redefining creative sectors.
In contemporary Western societies, as Bourdieu had already clearly stated, capital can not be limited to the economic dimension because it embraces other aspects. Likewise, wealth and also poverty do not depend only by the availability of money but involve areas of experience traditionally excluded from economic calculation and financial exchanges. The article shows how, in the manifold universe of sharing economy, some experiences arise and can generate value (and in some cases also economic profits) starting from what today people most need: relationships, recognition of capacity and knowledge not always appreciated by the labor market, re-occupation of the local space, leisure time, safety, creativity. All these aspects are real forms of wealth, which are circulated thanks to the digital platforms studied in the research presented here, and prefigure a future in which the economic logic should include other dimensions traditionally left on the fringes of market exchanges.
The lack of a shared definition of «sharing» is a recurring subject in the academic literature. In this article sharing economy is investigated as an umbrella term that refers to social innovation experiences in the context of the economic crisis that began in 2007-2008. In this framework there was a convergence between several processes: technological (the development of web 2.0 and the availability of apps that disintermediate the relations between producers and consumers), socio-cultural (the emergence of new forms of collaboration based on trust) and economic (in the form of new markets for investors and professional opportunities for individuals and families distressed because of the crisis); this convergence created the premises for the development of the sharing economy as an industry and as a cultural phenomenon. This contribution critically investigates the way industry operators are building, through their social practices, an operational definition of sharing economy. The sample consists of 47 providers of goods/services belonging to 32 cases of sharing economy, interviewed with non-directive techniques in the frame of a national research that this special issue is devoted to. The analysis of empirical material draws on the following research question: through what practices and discursive forms do the sharing economy operators shape the theme of sharing? The results highlight the emphasis of operators on the theme of trust as consumer motivation, while economic reasons are underestimated; their self-presentation as carriers of economic, social and normative innovation; a fideistic attitude towards sharing as a force of socio-economic change; an ideological view of the sharing economy. Criticism in the sharing economy is raised by small-scale service providers, while large platform operators show an acritic attitude towards the many problematic issues related to the sharing economy (tension between relational and commercial aspects, regulation, injunction to share, quality of the innovation produced by the sharing economy).
This article presents the results of an exploratory analysis of interviews with 42 founders and managers and 34 users of 31 case studies analysed in the research «Sustainable Everyday Practices in the Context of Crisis in Italy: Toward the Integration of Work, Consumption and Participation», with the aim of identifying the meanings attributed by them to the logic and mechanisms of reputation. The analysis is divided into three parts, corresponding to the most important issues raised by the interviews: the role of reputation in collaborative platforms; the logic and risks of peer review; the role of the intermediary and scale-mechanisms. The analysis explores the biases in the construction of online reputation in the sharing economy, like for example homophily, as well as the role of social norms of reciprocity. These biases and norms go far beyond the standard analysis of the value of reputation as indirect reciprocity, and introduce a new dimension to the study of how reputation affects the sharing economies.
The so called sharing economy produces liminal experiences of intimacy letting people be exposed to practices and places inside home with strangers (like cooking for paying guests or renting one’s own flat for a few days) or outside on the car, sharing trips and costs with strangers. On the basis of a pilot study carried out in Milan (Italy) the article discusses how these goings on change the feeling and the practice of intimacy and how they can be understood as fragments of «artificial sociability» in a simmelian sense. The explorative analysis is aimed at outlining inquiry questions to be operationalized in further research programs.
The aim of this paper is to give a portrait of the state of social relationships in Italy, focusing mainly on relationships among neighbors living in urban settings. After a general recognition on the status of social solidarity in the Italian contemporary society, particular attention will be given to the role and the efficacy of on-line platforms and social networks specifically designed to enhance collaboration among neighbors. Finally the paper will delve into the emerging phenomenon of Social Streets, giving a theoretical definition and a very accurate description drawing on the empirical data collected by the search «Vicini e connessi. Alla scoperta del vivere social», conducted by the Observatory on Social Street, founded and directed by the Author himself. This search, mainly based on the city of Milan, is a quali-quantitative project. The collection of empirical data was conducted by means of an on-line survey, more than 70 in-depth interviews with the foundators of the social streets of Milan, and ethnographical observation.