Processes of proliferation: Impact beyond scaling in sharing and collaborative economies

Airi Lampinen*, Ann Light, Chiara Rossitto, Anton Fedosov, Chiara Bassetti, Aniko Bernat, Penny Travlou, Gabriela Avram

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

While scalability and growth are key concerns for mainstream, venture-backed digital platforms, local and location-oriented collaborative economies are diverse in their approaches to evolving and achieving social change. Their aims and tactics differ when it comes to broadening their activities across contexts, spreading their concept, or seeking to make a bigger impact by promoting co-operation. This paper draws on three pairs of European, community-centred initiatives which reveal alternative views on scale, growth, and impact. We argue thatproliferation -- a concept that emphasises how something gets started and then travels in perhaps unexpected ways -- offers an alternative toscaling, which we understand as the use of digital networks in a monocultural way to capture an ever-growing number of participants. Considering proliferation is, thus, a way to reorient and enrich discussions on impact, ambitions, modes of organising, and the use of collaborative technologies. In illustrating how these aspects relate inprocesses of proliferation, we offer CSCW an alternative vision of technology use and development that can help us make sense of the impact of sharing and collaborative economies, and design socio-technical infrastructures to support their flourishing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages21
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jan 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
ISSN (Electronic)2573-0142

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • scaling
  • proliferation
  • impact
  • collaborative economy
  • sharing economy
  • local initiative


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