Platform Cooperativism Resource Library


In this article, we take stock of the ambivalent and contested nature of the sharing economy. Considering the ‘sharing economy’ as an umbrella construct and an essentially contested concept, we position the sharing economy as resting on three foundational cores: (1) Access economy, (2) Platform economy, and (3) Community-based economy. We show how each core holds distinct promises and paradoxes. This organizing framework shows how combining the cores can help sharing-economy initiatives to navigate certain tensions, but can also lead to new ones. We highlight the paradoxical nature of the sharing economy and make a case for balanced initiatives that combine the promises of each core while mitigating contradictions. We conclude by introducing the nine articles of the special issue, connecting their contributions to our organizing framework.


  • Sharing economy
  • Collaborative consumption
  • Access-based consumption
  • Platform capitalism
  • Paradox
Added May 5, 2020