This panel probes deeper into practices in the sharing economy. The sharing economy is thought to be a sustainable economic solution enabled by digital technologies for 'all' people. Is there something new here? Do we see an emergent underclass or new viable economic relations?
Hallmarks of the sharing economy are an active and engaged virtual community based on a principle of paying it forward with no expectation of direct exchange, and inherently innovative and disruptive economic activities. Sharing is organized in redistribution markets, product service systems and collaborative lifestyles. The sharing economy is in principle thought to be a sustainable economic solution enabled by digital technologies for 'all' people. Yet, people have always exchanged items and services. A salient question for us is, is there something new here, or is it the 'emperor's new clothes'? This panel probes deeper into shared economic practices. We welcome papers from speakers engaged in the sharing economy as well as ethnographic studies that probe who participates, how exchanges are performed and what attempts there are to regulate the sharing economy for social and employment rights, taxation, environmental issues. Who are the beneficiaries: providers, owners, users, society, the environment (writ large), the State? What relationships can a shared economy create? Is the shared economy for everybody or only for major economic stakeholders? What values does the shared economy support and create? How are other parts of the economy affected? We welcome in particular research about economic activity, relations and connections among groups classified as economically marginal in macroeconomic terms, that manage to stay economically independent and aim to pay their taxes and dues. Do we see an emergent underclass, or a promise of new viable economic relations?