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Individual Paper: Libraries of things as tool for degrowth?

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Especially during the last six years, not only the growth of web based opportunities for collaborative consumption can be observed in Europe. Also, until today around a hundred providers physically located in the neighborhood facilitate access instead of ownership and beyond in twelve countries. So-called libraries of things, in many cases organized by grassroot initiatives, lend tools, household and travel equipment that is not needed on a daily basis for free or at least inexpensively. (In Sweden, we find another specialized type with the fritidsbank offering sports equipment). Among others, it is assumed that these places have capabilities to contribute to meet goals of ecological sustainability, foster social relations and disrupt the current economic system.

First the presentation will trace the development and differentiation of those libraries before introducing the phenomenon in figures, maps and involved actors. Furthermore, it gives insights into their motivation and constellations. They share resources and ideas with other transformative initiatives like the food or mobility sector. Moreover, factors for emergence and diffusion can be shown to then explore and outline its potential for realizing de- or postgrowth societies.

The data was collected throughout the last three years via in-depth semi-structured mostly face-to-face interviews with fifteen operators and ten responses to a small online survey for statistical facts. Additionally, the corpus is complemented with findings from participant observation and results from web research. The interviews have been contentually analyzed with the help of MAXQDA. The lessons learned are not only of interest for academics but also for practitioners considering the establishment of such offers.


Day: 2018-08-24
Start time: 11:15
Duration: 00:15
Room: Nöjesteatern (Piano bar)
Track: Organisational and Organising Practices



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