This chapter examines what happens when our formerly material world begins to dematerialize. We examine the changes wrought by digitization, the sharing economy, and inconspicuous luxury. These impacts are examined in our materialism, status-seeking, ostentation, personal outsourcing, and personal identity. After considering these changes and impacts in a global context, the conclusions section of the chapter discusses changes and research opportunities likely to arise with further developments in robotics, Artificial Intelligence, cyborgs, and transhumanism. In these cases the haves of the world would be the ones who could afford such technologies and the have-nots would be the new underclass. In that case not only status might be at stake, but also longevity and life itself.
Edited by Russell W. Belk
Russell Belk and Rana Sobh
Robert V. Kozinets and Russell W. Belk
Russell W. Belk, Giana M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi
As the sharing economy is coming of age, this chapter explores its paradoxical nature. The authors outline the social and economic logics that can exist within various sharing economy platforms, and the struggle that can exist between them. They highlight how chapters in this Handbook demonstrate that failure to incorporate balance between the two logics, and thus to manage their hybrid and paradoxical nature, can lead to failure of platforms. The authors summarize how the Handbook chapters illuminate the diversity of exchange practices, such as online bartering and swapping, crowdfunding, time banking, and block chain, as well as work practices, such as coworking and cohoming. The chapters also explore how reputation, trust, and surveillance are engendered within the platforms and communities of sharing. Importantly, the authors summarize how researching the sharing economy in non-Western markets leads to novel insights. Finally, they summarize how the Handbook provides necessary critical perspectives to contemporary commercial sharing.