Informace o publikaci

Rendering the actually existing sharing economy visible: food, social networks and non-market exchanges in Central and Eastern Europe

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Rok publikování 2016
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

Přiložené soubory
Popis Home food production and sharing in the West are typically framed as innovative, modern and progressive practices. In contrast, similar practices in the East European context remain to be viewed as a path-dependent economic strategy of disadvantaged segments of society, set to disappear with the development of the market economy. This context-dependent conceptualisation highlights the unequal knowledge production and contentions arising from the endeavour to use insights from the post-socialist European ‘periphery’ to unsettle the hegemony of concepts generated in the Western context. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, drawing on insights from Southern (Connell 2007) and cosmopolitan theory (Robinson 2013), the paper raises the question whether there is a possibility for the western ‘core‘ and the increasingly affluent societies of the global South to learn from vast and socially embedded sharing economies in the ‘post-socialist periphery‘. Second, departing from the conceptualisation of Central and East European informal food practices as ‘quiet sustainability’ (Smith and Jehlička 2013) - as exuberant, appealing and socially diverse forms of sustainability which nurtures cooperation and sense of accomplishment - the paper questions assumptions about the relationship between class formation, sustainability and patterns of consumption. It asks whether it needs it to be assumed that periods of rapid economic development, and the related expansion of middle classes in emerging economies necessarily result in the abandonment of the non-market sharing economies. Our evidence suggest that it may not be the case. All social classes and age groups in Czechia and Poland participate in the sharing economy as they grow and exchange food. Significantly, the increasingly affluent Central and East European middle classes continue to grow food and, despite their greater disposable income, do not resort to the use of industrially made fertilisers in significantly greater numbers than the working classes. These practices are significant in terms of environmental sustainability – most growers generate little carbon dioxide emissions as their gardens are next to their houses. Furthermore, nearly half of the Czech and Polish food growers effectively produce non-certified organic food (in that they use neither industrially made pesticides nor fertilisers). While the percentage of Polish food growers sharing their produce (46 per cent) is slightly lower than the percentage of Czech growers to do so (60 per cent), there is virtually no difference in either country in the behaviour of the two classes. Growing and sharing food appears to be beneficial both for social well-being as health as people involved in these practices tend to have more friends and consume more vegetables than non-growers.
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