The Age of Sharing
The Age of Sharing
ISBN: 978-1-509-51229-4 December 2016 Polity 224 Pages
But the word sharing also camouflages commercial or even exploitative relations. Websites say they share data with advertisers, although in reality they sell it, while parts of the sharing economy look a great deal like rental services. Ultimately, it is argued, practices described as sharing and critiques of those practices have common roots. Consequently, the metaphor of sharing now constructs significant swathes of our social practices and provides the grounds for critiquing them; it is a mode of participation in the capitalist order as well as a way of resisting it.
Drawing on nineteenth-century literature, Alcoholics Anonymous, the American counterculture, reality TV, hackers, Airbnb, Facebook and more, The Age of Sharing offers a rich account of a complex contemporary keyword. It will appeal to students and scholars of the internet, digital culture and linguistics.
Table of contents
1 Introduction 1
2 How Sharing Became Caring 20
3 Sharing and the Internet 44
4 Sharing Economies 69
5 Sharing Our Feelings 98
6 Sharing Files 123
7 Conclusion 146
"The Age of Sharing is an insightful and careful excavation of the concept and practice of sharing both material and immaterial things. It broadly interrogates primates and early humans to the latest social media and 'sharing' apps, for clues about our basic human nature."
Russell Belk, Schulich School of Business, York University
"The word 'sharing' has become so ubiquitous that we rarely stop to inquire into its meanings, let alone the ideological work it does in the diverse contexts of its use. John’s engaging historical analysis of 'sharing' across three domains is essential reading, offering deep insight into the implicit values that shape our interactions and economies."
Nancy Baym, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research
"The book is worth reading for scholars of the Internet for a number of reasons. First, it is an original argument about the centrality of "sharing" to online culture. As such, it is likely to prove useful in inspiring further research and investigation into sharing as an idea and examination of its use in other contexts. Equally, the work demonstrates a useful method of looking at the discourse around and in online (and offline) spaces. It is in some ways a "keywords" book of a single keyword, but might serve as an exemplar for those interested in taking similar approaches with other key concepts. Finally, and most importantly, it is an enjoyable and engaging read; a book to think with."
Alexander Halavais, Internet Histories: Digital Technology, Culture and Society
"John has written a useful account of the tangled meanings of [sharing] and the diverse practices associated with it. The book will be of considerable interest to those working in the fields of media and cultural studies, linguistics and sociology."
European Journal of Communication