Sharing economy as an anti-concept
Keywords:Sharing economy, Collaborative economy, Collaborative consumption, Gift, Sharing, Pseudo-sharing, Communicative capitalism, Platform capitalism
The “sharing economy”, a term often used interchangeably with the “collaborative economy” and “collaborative consumption”, is a recurrent topic both in public and academic debate on new Web-based services characterized by forms of peer-to-peer or business-to-peer sharing. This paper investigates it theoretically as an “anti-concept”, that is, an unnecessary and rationally unusable label forged to replace a concept endowed with greater legitimacy. A critique of the sharing economy as a common-sense construct is carried out in order to suggest its rejection as an analytical and interpretative category and to question any unconditioned cultural legitimacy of the sharing economy under its promoters’ economic interests. Four main critical issues are discussed: (a) the contradiction between the relational and the commercial dimension; (b) regulatory challenges related to the dimensions of labour, trust, risk and agency; (c) the injunction to share; and (d) the consequences of the sharing economy in terms of social change. The notion of neoliberal entanglement economy is proposed to replace that of sharing economy.
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