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Participants’ interaction with sharing economy platforms in Russia

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Purpose

The objective of this contribution is to pinpoint the practices of users' interactions with sharing economy platforms in Russia, as well as explore the source of motivation to use such platforms on the three cases of sharing economy platforms in Russia: Darudar [Gift-to-gift] (sharing goods), Bank Vremeny [Timebank] (sharing time and services) and Couchsurfing (sharing accommodation and leisure).

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical data were gathered from 25 in-depth interviews conducted for active users of the platforms and ethnographic observations of users' offline meetings as well as digital observations.

Findings

The results reveal that participants of the platforms tend to establish their own rules and norms of interaction, thus, fostering social connection. Findings suggest that users of sharing economy platforms are driven by the potential of minimising transaction costs and intrinsic motivation, such as getting experiences which have no market alternatives, upcycling and disposal of belongings, self-promotion and self-realisation.

Original/value

In this study, sharing as based in the sharing economy is conceptualised as a separate principle of resource allocation. The theory was applied to the empirical material of three Russian platforms, which has not been done previously in the paradigm of sharing. The current literature on the sharing economy is largely switched to the for-profit North American platforms, while case studies from other settings are lacking. This article aims to fill this gap by providing insights into non-profit platforms' operation in Russia.
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Keywords: Community; Developing countries; Ethnography; Multiple case studies; Peer-to-peer network / file sharing; User participation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: June 18, 2020

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