Call for Papers: Regulating the ‘Sharing Economy’

Call for Papers for Special Issue of Internet Policy Review on *Regulating the ‘Sharing Economy’*

Special Issue editors: Kris Erickson, Research Fellow, CREATe, University of Glasgow & Inge Sørensen, Research Fellow, CCPR, University of Glasgow.

You are ‘the new infrastructure’, an entrepreneur breathlessly explains to the Wall Street Journal in a recent piece on sharing economy start-ups (9 March 2015).  Conceived in the early 2000s to describe alternative practices of creativity and distribution, the sharing economy has become the rallying call for an array of new businesses which rely on networked connectivity of users willing to exchange, sell and purchase services from one another. The co-optation of online ‘gifting’ by capitalist interests is a story which traces the progression of many digital social phenomena, from community discussion fora to digital video youth culture. The sharing economy raises important issues for regulators: When does ‘sharing’ cease to be a private activity and become a public concern? When do affective relationships become exploitative? When is something a gift, and when is it labour? How do we ensure that risks and costs are accurately reflected in the provision of goods? And how should costs be divided between collaborative consumers, businesses, and the public?

This special issue will consider both informal norms of governance as well as formal legal structures governing sharing communities and services. As a result, contributions are likely to touch on a range of disciplines and approaches, including sociological, economic, technological and legal. It is the hope of the editors that this collection of individual contributions will lead to identification of issues of theoretical importance across different configurations of sharing economy practices, and help crystallise future areas of inquiry for empirical study.

Contributions should focus on the impact of technological and social innovation in this area, with specific reference to European societies and digital regulatory frameworks. In particular, we seek papers which address the following topics of interest for regulators:

  • Crowdfunding and venture crowdfunding networks
  • Economic impacts of sharing economy on traditional sectors
  • Informal governance, ratings, reviews and crowd intelligence
  • Future of transportation, utilities, and ‘smart’ urban provision
  • Peer-to-peer production and distribution of media
  • Alternative digital currencies, legal and financial systems
  • Citizenship and civic engagement
  • Open data, privacy and accountability

In addition to the above topics, we welcome proposals for original, forward-looking contributions with a focus on the European digital regulatory environment (or that of a national or local jurisdiction in Europe). By critically examining this emerging topic, this special issue will generate EU-specific understanding of policy issues, and expand our scholarly understanding of economic and social trends with potential for long-term impact.

This Call for Papers is open to researchers from the fields of policy studies, sociology, law, philosophy, data, information and technology studies, economics and management. Emerging scholars are particularly encouraged to submit a proposal.

Important dates

7th September 2015: Deadline for expression of interest and abstract submission (500 word abstracts) to the co-editors and

29th September 2015: Feedback on abstract submissions

30th December 2015: Deadline for full text submission (max. 35,000 characters) to All details on text submissions can be found here:

The Internet Policy Review was established in 2013 as the first online peer-reviewed journal on Internet Regulation in Europe. It aims to be a resource on Internet policy for academics, civil society advocates, entrepreneurs, the media and policy-makers alike. It is published on a rolling quarterly basis by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin. The editorial board consists of Professor Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay (ISCC/CNRS, Paris), Professor Natali Helberger (IViR, Amsterdam), Professor Jeanette Hofmann (Berlin Social Science Center WZB), Professor Martin Kretschmer (CREATe, Glasgow) and Professor Wolfgang Schulz (Hans Bredow Institute, Hamburg).

Categories: Digital Sociology

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