Area of knowledge-transfer 1 Sharing Economies & Open Access: Alternativen zum Eigentum?

Programme for the transfer area

Contentious debates surrounding the sharing economy and open access in the digital economy are highly pertinent when considering the nature of property in contemporary society. In a time in which access to ever more areas of knowledge, services and goods takes the form of a loan, of open access or of regulated access, does property – particularly private property – start to lose its significance? And what role do digital monopolies such as AirBnB and Uber play within contemporary systems of property?

If AirBnB has become the largest broker of housing despite never having owned a flat, and Uber arranges transport for individuals without actually owning the cars it uses to do so, then the question arises of whether it is really the cars or the flats or, rather, data and the power to organise its movement which will constitute the property of the future. Furthermore, the suspected dismantling of state property regulation (for example in the hotel industry) which often attends such developments is also a subject of vehement debate. The ways in which sharing economies and open access change the everyday practices, social and world relations of the people involved and how they change ideas of ownership and property remain an open issue when it comes to the structural transformations that often take place through ownership.

In the transfer area “Sharing Economies and Open Access”, we are seeking opportunities for exchange with representatives from real-world sharing projects in Jena and Erfurt, both those operating according to long-established formats (e.g. car sharing) and those which are exploring newer formats with greater market potential (e.g. rental, driving services) or which are more politically-concerned (e.g. urban gardening). The transition from sharing to open access and the transformative potential of these formats will be explored in dialogue between representatives of real-life practice and experts who have carried out empirical study on related projects, whilst questions of labour rights and social security will be discussed in dialogue with representatives from the relevant trade unions. The sub-project C06 Rosa/Oberthür serves as partner for this transfer area.