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  • The Sharing Economy and Its Paradoxes: Economic Sociological Analysis of "Darudar", "Bank Vremeny" and "Couchsurfing"

Student
Title
Supervisor
Faculty
Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Mayya Shmidt
The Sharing Economy and Its Paradoxes: Economic Sociological Analysis of "Darudar", "Bank Vremeny" and "Couchsurfing"
2018
Over the past decade we observed the enormous rise of alternative forms of organizing economy such as sharing economy. Terrains of the phenomena which are widely discussed are: peer-to-peer accommodation and transportation, on-demand household and professional services, collaborative finance.Since origins of sharing economy activities can be traced back to foundation of eBay and Craigslist as marketplaces where buyers and sellers meet to recirculate goods, by 2010 platforms amounted to some thousands, provided goods and services from clothes-swap to peer-to-peer banking services. While ones argue that sharing economy address anti-capitalist rhetoric and strive for inventing novel means of resource allocation, others assume that “label [sharing economy] is either strategically or unwittingly employed to expand the market rather than sharing” (Widlok 2016, p.193). Thus, sharing economy is quite contradictory in its fundamental reasoning and remains undertheorised, since the focal point of interest was switched to technological composition of Web platforms, attempts to set legislative agenda, assessing market size and presence of collaborative consumption platforms and estimating revenues generated by platforms. Present contribution conceptualize sharing economy as non-commercial organization of exchange, brought in existence by digital platforms, where users which are strangers to one another organize peer-to-peer networks, thereby creating a community in which no one knows each other by name, but has the right to invest their resources and use the resources of others. Diversity of organizational features, motivation to participate and limitations of sharing economy are studied by comparing cases of sharing economy platforms in Russia: couchsurfing, darudar and ‘bank vremeny’ (sharing time and services). What is the motivation underlying participation in sharing economy activities? How is egalitarian idea of sharing contested?

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