Trust in Collaborative Economies and How to Study It: Relational Assets and the Making of More-than-Strangers
Chapter from the book: Travlou P. & Ciolfi L. 2022. Ethnographies of Collaborative Economies across Europe: Understanding Sharing and Caring.
This chapter explores the nature of trust in collaborative economies: how we might see the work that trust is doing and know that it is the phenomenon of trust that we are looking at. It contrasts the work that neighbourhoods and locally focused enterprises undertake – to build trust as a valued interpersonal quality – with the legal mechanisms of the digital sharing economy, which resituate trust, shifting the focus from partners in a transaction to dependence on technology. In doing so, it identifies different roles that trust is playing and poses the question as to whether our reading of trust is subtle enough for the purposes of our designing. Along the way, it proposes a range of ethnographic forms to deepen our reading of these social aspects of transaction, including a place for our own response to new types of transaction. In doing so, it seeks to inform on the transition of groups of strangers into economies and collaborators: the ‘more-than-strangers’ of the title.