UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Joshua Richards


'Sharing' and being able to 'share' is often considered a positive virtue that we should be able to achieve. More recently, 'sharing' has received prominence as a possible route towards sustainable consumption rather than sovereign ownership by reducing manufacturing and encouraging collaborative, shared consumption of goods (Harris and Gorenflo 2012). But how do we 'share', what does 'sharing' involve, and how do we acquire the skills and knowledge that allow people to 'share' successfully? This thesis examines the 'practice' of 'sharing' in shared accommodation in South Manchester. Aiming to address current gaps in our understanding of how 'sharing' works as a practice of consumption, this thesis uses the context of peer-shared accommodation to consider the negotiation, coordination and practice of 'sharing' non-sovereign goods (goods that are not owned or controlled by any one individual within the peer-group). Based on 31 qualitative interviews across 18 households in South Manchester, coupled with an analysis of 360 house share advertisements, this research explores the process by which residents are recruited into houses and their practices, how sharing is 'done' across different 'types' of tangible and intangible assets, and how issues of conflict within the practice of 'sharing' are resolved (or not). Using 'theories of practice' (Schatzki et al. 2001; Shove et al. 2009; Warde 2005) and the 'housing pathways' approach (Clapham 2002; Clapham 2004; Clapham 2005; Clapham 2009) as analytical frameworks to view the practice of 'sharing', it foregrounds the importance of interpersonal relationships on the enactment of practice. This thesis explores how 'sharing' within shared accommodation is not an easy or straightforward 'practice', but one that involves skills often acquired earlier in a resident's housing career that allows tacit negotiation and coordination of 'practice' within an often flat-hierarchy that gives rise to some conflicting and irrational forms of consumption. 'Sharing' is contingent not just on 'what' is 'shared', but also with whom, and at what time. The importance of interpersonal relations - or relationality - on the enactment of practice is a key contribution of this thesis, and suggests that further research into 'sharing' and practices more generally should consider the impact of interpersonal relations and the practitioner's 'pathway' in analyses of social practice. This thesis presents a 'contingency model of sharing' within which further research can be deployed to appraise 'sharing' as a diverse set of practices that are practically and relationally contingent, and argues for further research to explore sharing across differing contexts with relational forms in order to better inform a conceptual understanding of 'sharing' more broadly.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2013