What future for collaborative consumption? A practice theoretical account

Walter Fraanje*, G. Spaargaren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Collaborative consumption indicates the emergence and rapid spread of a new set of consumption practices. Originally praised as an antidote to an unsustainable market economy, there is growing concern that collaborative consumption increasingly follows a conventional market rationality of payments
and profits, thereby undermining its initial social and ‘civil society’ aspects. This article investigates the future of collaborative consumption through case studies of the Peerby and MyWheels platforms, which represent new social practices of borrowing and renting. We use the sociological theories of Theodore Schatzki and Randall Collins to analyse the key factors that determine the present and future trajectories of these practices. We show how human agency and emotions in a dynamic between companies, practices, and practitioners are crucial in shaping the future of collaborative consumption. The findings suggest two diverging trajectories: one that sticks to the social aspects of connecting
people through sharing things, and another that heads towards impersonal forms of collaborative consumption. The latter is primarily organized by companies, which introduce new rules (payments and insurances) and technologies (drones and autonomous vehicles) to make the shared use of things more fast, efficient, and profitable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-508
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume208
Early online date24 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • collaborative consumption
  • practice theory
  • social change

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