The Sociological Review is thrilled to be launching the first of their 2018 monographs, , edited by Davide Arcidiacono (Universita Cattolica, Milan), Alessandro Gandini (King’s College, London) and Ivana Pais (Universita Cattolica, Milan). For over fifty years, the Sociological Review monograph series has showcased the best and most innovative sociologically informed work, producing intellectually stimulating volumes that promote emerging and established academics. Unboxing the Sharing Economy continues this trend, exploring the sociological significance and implications of the rise in digitally-enabled ‘sharing’ practices, which are currently widespread from the Western economy to the Global South.
The idea of a rising ‘sharing economy’ is currently a hot topic in an international debate that builds on the emergence of peer-to-peer network exchanges that rely more on access than on property, on relations more than an appropriation,to call into question the sociological understanding of the relationship between the society and the market that goes back to authors such as Polanyi, Marx and Sombart.
The aim of this monograph is therefore to bring together a selection of contributions that will help identify the analytical categories and indicators needed to interpret this phenomenon from a sociological perspective on a global scale. Through a collection of original empirical research on this topic, from Western and non-Western contexts, by both established and junior scholars and experts, this monograph will make a pivotal contribution to the study of what themes, methods and issues characterise the rise of ‘sharing’ as a socio-economic model and a new frontier of sociological research. In particular, this monograph aims to answer the following questions: what do we mean with ‘sharing economy’? What kind of positive innovations or possible criticalities might this socio-economic model bring? Does ‘sharing’ really represent an alternative to capitalism, or an example of its transformation? In which areas, and how, is the way of doing business in society changing as a result of the diffusion of ‘sharing economies’?