Introduction: Sharing in
Modern Societies
B. Yasanthi Perera and Pia A. Albinsson
This collection of writings on the sharing economy is timely as the term seems
to be everywhere as of late. A range of outlets from blogs to long-standing
publications such as the New York Times have covered various aspects of this
phenomenon, and dictionaries such as those published by Merriam Webster
and Oxford now provide definitions for this noun, indicating that it has be-
come a part of the mainstream vernacular. A 2014 survey by Nielsen, an in-
formation and measurement company, which polled over 30,000
Internet-based consumers in 60 countries, found that 68% of respondents
were open to sharing or renting their personal belongings for payment and
that approximately 66% were likely to use products offered through sharing
opportunities. A more recent poll collaboratively conducted by Time, the As-
pen Institute, and Burson-Marsteller, a strategic communications and global
public relations firm, indicates that 44% of adult North American Internet
users have participated as both sharing economy providers and users and that
71% of these individuals report positive experiences (Steinmetz 2016). As
John Burbank, president of Strategic Initiatives at Nielsen, notes, “There is
now an established comfort level that has opened the door for sharing per-
sonal property via the Internet that may have seemed unfathomable even a
few short years ago. Connecting online for activities such as shopping, manag-
ing finances, conducting research or watching videos have become an integral
part of the daily routines for many. . . . Just about anything is fair game for
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