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Is the Meaning of the “Sharing Economy” Shared Among Us? Comparing the Perspectives of Japanese and Swedish Policymakers and Politicians

Per Fors (), Yu Inutsuka (), Takashi Majima () and Yohko Orito ()
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Per Fors: Uppsala University
Yu Inutsuka: Nagoya Institute of Technology
Takashi Majima: Senshu University
Yohko Orito: Ehime University

The Review of Socionetwork Strategies, 2021, vol. 15, issue 1, 107-121

Abstract: Abstract In another paper in this special issue, we explored how the sharing economy was understood and promoted by researchers in Japan and Sweden, respectively. In this second paper, which is based on two separate archival studies, we proceed by focusing on how the concept is used and understood in the political sphere by politicians and policymakers in the two contexts. On a general level, the sharing economy is understood as an economic model based on the acquisition, provision, and sharing of goods and services, facilitated by digital platforms. This study concludes that within the political spheres in Japan and Sweden there are, however, many different more specific understandings of and assumptions related to the concept. For example, the sharing economy is primarily promoted as a tool for economic revitalization and growth in Japan, while in Sweden its environmental benefits are emphasized. In Japan, there seems to be more consensus around what the sharing economy is, what its main effects are, and how it should be promoted. In Sweden, political parties instead advance different understandings of, and assumptions related to, the sharing economy to advance their political agendas. While the concept has been successfully translated in Japan by powerful political institutions and actors, we argue that the concept remains open to many different interpretations in Sweden.

Keywords: Sharing economy; Collaborative consumption; Comparative study; Translation; Floating signifier (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s12626-021-00070-z

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