‘BorrowMyDoggy.Com’: Rethinking Peer‐to‐peer Exchange for Genuine Sharing

Publication Date01 Mar 2018
AuthorDevyani Prabhat
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/jols.12080
JOURNAL OF LAW AND SOCIETY
VOLUME 45, NUMBER 1, MARCH 2018
ISSN: 0263-323X, pp. 84±98
`BorrowMyDoggy.Com': Rethinking Peer-to-peer
Exchange for Genuine Sharing
Devyani Prabhat*
This article re-examines what constitutes genuine sharing in peer-to-peer
collaborative transactions by contrasting a pet owner-borrower matching
initiative to other enterprises such as Uber and Airbnb. It argues that aims
of public spiritedness and community building through interactions are
essential for sustaining peer-to-peer collaborations. When money is the
focal point of exchange, the collaborative relationship is motivated by
profit making rather than goals of sustainability, well-being or good
citizenship. Interactions that create new kinds of connections within
communities (rather than replacing traditional connections with cheaper
or more accessible ones) are more likely to generate a genuine sharing
ethos. The chief implication of the case study is that collaborators need to
think carefully about objectives and means of exchange. Capturing new
kinds of productive relationships, which are not overly reliant on the
exchange of money, may contribute to genuine exchange and enhance
community relations, leading to greater cultural citizenship.
EPIGRAPH
`Here are my two dogs back home in New Zealand', the young man showed
me on his iPhone screen. Two chocolate brown Labradors smiled up at me
from a lush green lawn many miles away from Bristol. I could not help
smiling back at them. Alex, whom I had invited home, along with his Irish
girlfriend Aileen, lives just a few streets away from me in Clifton, Bristol,
but this was our very first meeting. Giving small talk a miss, we were sipping
tea while swapping stories of childhood, travels around the world, and the
friends we have left behind. Every few minutes either Alex or Aileen would
pause to pat my pup and say in admiring tones `good boy, Jazz'. To our
mutual enjoyment Jazz would then roll onto his back and invite tickles.
84
*University of Bristol Law School, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road,
Bristol BS8 1RJ, England
devyani.prabhat@bristol.ac.uk
ß2018 The Author. Journal of Law and Society ß2018 Cardiff University Law School

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