Working Group 1 meeting in Funchal, Madeira, 27 Nov 2017
Working Group 1 is focusing on a systematic analysis of practices of digitally-mediated collaborative economies.
Its second meeting, organised in Funchal, Madeira, on 27 November 2017, was focused on refining the focus of the ethnographic research and preparing a shared methodological toolkit to guide research related to the action across the participating countries.
The meeting included presentations by the WG1 Co-Leaders, Dr Penny Travlou and Dr Airi Lampinen, along with WG1 members Venere Sanna and Anton Fedosov. Additionally, all participants took part in a brainstorming session to come up with and further refine themes and topics that the ethnographic research will focus on.
To kick off the half-day event, Airi Lampinen presented the program and provided a brief reminder of the aims of the working group and its activities so far. Most importantly, she described the country reports that were collected earlier in the year and discussed the potential to work on further synthesizing them. While this option is being considered, it is worth noting that these materials have already served to guide the focus of the working group’s research efforts.
Following Airi’s presentation, Penny Travlou took the stage to describe the two-pronged focus of the ethnographic research that the working group plans to undertake: On the one hand, a set of case studies will look at Airbnb and other hospitality platforms. On the other hand, the group will compile case studies of local initiatives that will be compared to one another primarily in terms of the model of organizing they involve. This combination will allow the working group to capture both well known and contested, commercial examples of the collaborative economy, as well as alternative arrangements that are primarily driven by local communities and may involve no monetary exchange. Penny’s presentation was followed by a brainstorming session in breakout groups where the aim was to surface shared interests & themes & interview questions regarding both lines of research.
After a coffee break, the second session focused on the methodological toolkit that a small task force within WG1 has been preparing over the past months. First, Penny presented the basic set of methods that are to be applied, including interviews, online observation and in-situ observation. Second, Venere Sanna from Sapienza University of Rome presented an example of how to collect metadata about cases in a complex research setting – a key challenge that WG1 will need to tackle. Third, Anton Fedosov from Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) gave a talk on social practice theories and how they can be helpful in guiding research within the action.
The meeting closed with a review of next steps:
The toolkit task force will continue its weekly Skype meetings to refine the methodological toolkit so as to have a version ready for use in the Spring of 2018.
Another task force will be formed to establish guidelines concerning research ethics and authorship issues for the whole of the Action.
The next WG1 meeting will take place in Tarragona, Spain, in March 2018.
If you would like to get involved in WG1, please join our mailing list. For questions to the working group leaders, please send an email to sharingandcharingcostaction at gmail.com (include WG1 in the subject line).