Rendering the Actually Existing Sharing Economy Visible: Home-Grown Food and the Pleasure of Sharing

Jehlicka, Petr and Daněk, Petr (2017). Rendering the Actually Existing Sharing Economy Visible: Home-Grown Food and the Pleasure of Sharing. Sociologia Ruralis, 57(3) pp. 274–296.



Despite the unprecedented attention paid to the sharing economy and despite the growing interest in household food production, the non-market and non-monetised sharing of home-grown food - a social practice at the intersection of these two concerns - has so far largely escaped scholars’ attention. The goal of the paper is twofold. First, drawing on a large-scale survey (2058 respondents) and four focus groups conducted in the Czech Republic in 2015, the article shows that in the Global North the sharing of home-grown food is a surprisingly widespread and economically and environmentally significant practice. Second, the article to some extent aims to break with the research tradition that deems studies conducted in the periphery of the Global North lacking in potential to produce more generally valid insights. It therefore seeks to counter the scripting of Eastern Europe on the margins of the geographies of knowledge production. The article contests the causal link between economic hardship and informal food practices, views these practices as sustainability by outcome rather than intention, and suggests they are compatible with the tenets of alternative food networks. While not perceived as sites of outright resistance to capitalism, these spaces are viewed by practitioners as constituting valuable domains of socially and culturally motivated human interactions, driven by the desire for fresh and healthy food, fulfilling personal hobbies, and the development of enjoyable social ties.

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