Fare e ricevere regali nella sharing economy. Teorie, comunità e pratiche di consumo (Giving and receiving gifts in the sharing economy. Theories, communities and new consumption practices)
Purpose of the paper: Investigating the validity of the theories regarding the disposition of “special” objects and the consumption of “contaminated” objects, in the context of the sharing economy.
Methodology: A mix of qualitative methods, including a netnography, which has been realized from 2005 to present, a three year (2006-2008) participant observation, and 14 in-depth interviews, was used in order to analyze the books donation and reception within the Bookcrossing community.
Findings: In the analyzed community, the members are particularly interested in sharing their own books with other subjects. This objective seems to be even more important than losing their own books, which are donated to other members, or using books that were previously used by other, unknown subjects.
Research limits: Only one community was analyzed. Moreover, only the most involved members were considered, while less attention was paid to less interested individuals.
Practical implications: It is argued how, in order to understand the transformations related to the sharing economy, it is necessary to consider well established theories in order to verify whether they may be adapted to the emergent context. Moreover, it is highlighted how increasingly important it is for the companies to position themselves as platforms aimed above all at increasing the possibilities of sharing for their own customers.
Originality of the paper: This is the first work that discusses certain established theories, like those dealing with the disposition of special objects and the consumption of contaminated goods, in the new context of the sharing economy.
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