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Borrowed practices : renew or hold : examining the potential for the spreading of libraries of things in Mexico City through social practice

Duhart Herrera, Gabriela LU (2017) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20171
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Libraries of things, non-for-profit physical spaces where people borrow objects they would otherwise buy, have spread over Europe, the U.S., and Canada and have now emerged in Mexico City, where challenges to sustainability such as increased consumption levels and insufficient waste management abound. Collaborative economy initiatives like libraries of things are exposed as more sustainable alternatives to conventional patterns of satisfying human needs. Practices related to CE are not foreign to citizens in Mexico City as historical traditions of trade and barter and circulation of used objects have remained vibrant in convergence with monetization. Yet, the aforementioned practices have often been regarded as pertaining to lower class... (More)
Libraries of things, non-for-profit physical spaces where people borrow objects they would otherwise buy, have spread over Europe, the U.S., and Canada and have now emerged in Mexico City, where challenges to sustainability such as increased consumption levels and insufficient waste management abound. Collaborative economy initiatives like libraries of things are exposed as more sustainable alternatives to conventional patterns of satisfying human needs. Practices related to CE are not foreign to citizens in Mexico City as historical traditions of trade and barter and circulation of used objects have remained vibrant in convergence with monetization. Yet, the aforementioned practices have often been regarded as pertaining to lower class status. Nevertheless, collaborative economy platforms, while for-profit and often relying on digital technology, have recently begun to thrive in the city, becoming part of everyday practices in different strata of society and thus challenging culturally embedded notions of status. In this regard, research and discourse around transformative economies in the Global South is scarce, and in Mexico it is mainly focused on either the thriving for-profit platforms or the solidarity or social economy initiatives in response to pressing socio-economic justice concerns. This study provides an insight on the sector of the collaborative economy that is based on non-for-profit and face-to-face interactions. Three elements of social practice theory: material, skills & know-how and meaning, were used to preliminarily assess shaping factors in the spread of the practice of sharing objects in libraries of things in Mexico City. A localized overview of everyday practices and perceptions of libraries of things was obtained through interviews at a middle-class housing unit and supported by literature reviews and data collected with members of collaborative economy initiatives in the city. Results show that the practice of sharing objects is acknowledged and participation in physical platforms of the collaborative economy can potentially be embraced by members of different backgrounds within the socially heterogeneous middle-class sector in the city. However, the overall motivations to participate do not include elements sustainability or social justice. Nevertheless, classist prejudices of status and hygiene around used and recycled objects were found to be fading and actively transformed through trust in response to the economic crisis and greater presence of alternative ways of consumption. Barriers like mistrust in the government and lack of validation or support from the latter were identified along with needs to establish mechanisms for accountability and participation at community and citywide levels. (Less)
Abstract (Spanish)
Las bibliotecas de cosas, espacios físicos sin fines de lucro donde las personas toman prestados objetos que de otra manera comprarían, se han extendido por Europa, Estados Unidos y Canadá y ahora han surgido en la Ciudad de México, donde los desafíos a la sostenibilidad como el incremento de los niveles de consumo y la insuficiencia en el manejo de residuos abundan. Las iniciativas de economía colaborativa (EC) como las bibliotecas de cosas se exponen como alternativas más sostenibles a los patrones convencionales de satisfacer las necesidades humanas. Las prácticas relacionadas con la EC no son ajenas a los ciudadanos en la Ciudad de México, ya que las tradiciones históricas trueque y circulación de objetos usados ​​han permanecido... (More)
Las bibliotecas de cosas, espacios físicos sin fines de lucro donde las personas toman prestados objetos que de otra manera comprarían, se han extendido por Europa, Estados Unidos y Canadá y ahora han surgido en la Ciudad de México, donde los desafíos a la sostenibilidad como el incremento de los niveles de consumo y la insuficiencia en el manejo de residuos abundan. Las iniciativas de economía colaborativa (EC) como las bibliotecas de cosas se exponen como alternativas más sostenibles a los patrones convencionales de satisfacer las necesidades humanas. Las prácticas relacionadas con la EC no son ajenas a los ciudadanos en la Ciudad de México, ya que las tradiciones históricas trueque y circulación de objetos usados ​​han permanecido vibrantes en convergencia con la monetización. Sin embargo, las prácticas mencionadas han sido consideradas como pertenecientes al estatus de clase baja. No obstante, las plataformas de economía colaborativa con fines lucrativos y a menudo dependientes de la tecnología digital, han comenzado a prosperar recientemente en la ciudad, convirtiéndose en parte de las prácticas cotidianas en diferentes estratos de la sociedad y desafiando así las nociones culturales de estatus. En este sentido, la investigación y el discurso en torno a las economías transformadoras en el Sur Global son escasos y en México se centran principalmente en las prósperas plataformas con fines de lucro o en las iniciativas de economía social o solidaria en respuesta a preocupaciones urgentes de justicia socioeconómica. Este estudio proporciona una visión sobre el sector de la economía colaborativa que se basa en las interacciones cara a cara y sin fines de lucro. Se utilizaron tres elementos de la teoría de la práctica social: el material, el de habilidades & saber hacer y el de significado para evaluar de manera preliminar los factores que pueden definir la difusión de la práctica de compartir objetos en bibliotecas de cosas en la Ciudad de México. Una visión localizada de las prácticas cotidianas y las percepciones de las bibliotecas de cosas se obtuvo a través de entrevistas en una unidad habitacional de clase media y con el apoyo de las revisiones de la literatura y los datos obtenidos con miembros de diferentes iniciativas de economía colaborativa en la ciudad. Los resultados muestran que la práctica de compartir objetos es reconocida y la participación en plataformas físicas de la economía colaborativa puede ser incorporada por diferentes miembros del sector socialmente heterogéneo que es la clase media en la ciudad. Cabe mencionar que las motivaciones generales para participar no incluyen elementos de sostenibilidad o justicia social. Sin embargo, se mostró que los prejuicios clasistas sobre el estatus y la higiene de los objetos usados ​​y reciclados se están desvaneciendo y están siendo transformados activamente a través de la confianza en respuesta a la crisis económica y la mayor presencia de formas alternativas de consumo. Se identificaron obstáculos como la desconfianza en el gobierno y la falta de validación o apoyo del mismo, junto con la necesidad de establecer mecanismos para la rendición de cuentas y la participación a nivel comunitario y en toda la ciudad. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Duhart Herrera, Gabriela LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
libraries of things, collaborative economy, practice theory, Mexico City, consumption, lending libraries, sustainability science, bibliotecas de cosas, economía colaborativa, teoría de la práctica, consumo, Ciudad de México, ciencias de la sustentabilidad
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2017:036
language
English
id
8916797
date added to LUP
2017-06-20 13:17:30
date last changed
2017-06-20 13:17:30
@misc{8916797,
  abstract     = {Libraries of things, non-for-profit physical spaces where people borrow objects they would otherwise buy, have spread over Europe, the U.S., and Canada and have now emerged in Mexico City, where challenges to sustainability such as increased consumption levels and insufficient waste management abound. Collaborative economy initiatives like libraries of things are exposed as more sustainable alternatives to conventional patterns of satisfying human needs. Practices related to CE are not foreign to citizens in Mexico City as historical traditions of trade and barter and circulation of used objects have remained vibrant in convergence with monetization. Yet, the aforementioned practices have often been regarded as pertaining to lower class status. Nevertheless, collaborative economy platforms, while for-profit and often relying on digital technology, have recently begun to thrive in the city, becoming part of everyday practices in different strata of society and thus challenging culturally embedded notions of status. In this regard, research and discourse around transformative economies in the Global South is scarce, and in Mexico it is mainly focused on either the thriving for-profit platforms or the solidarity or social economy initiatives in response to pressing socio-economic justice concerns. This study provides an insight on the sector of the collaborative economy that is based on non-for-profit and face-to-face interactions. Three elements of social practice theory: material, skills & know-how and meaning, were used to preliminarily assess shaping factors in the spread of the practice of sharing objects in libraries of things in Mexico City. A localized overview of everyday practices and perceptions of libraries of things was obtained through interviews at a middle-class housing unit and supported by literature reviews and data collected with members of collaborative economy initiatives in the city. Results show that the practice of sharing objects is acknowledged and participation in physical platforms of the collaborative economy can potentially be embraced by members of different backgrounds within the socially heterogeneous middle-class sector in the city. However, the overall motivations to participate do not include elements sustainability or social justice. Nevertheless, classist prejudices of status and hygiene around used and recycled objects were found to be fading and actively transformed through trust in response to the economic crisis and greater presence of alternative ways of consumption. Barriers like mistrust in the government and lack of validation or support from the latter were identified along with needs to establish mechanisms for accountability and participation at community and citywide levels.},
  author       = {Duhart Herrera, Gabriela},
  keyword      = {libraries of things,collaborative economy,practice theory,Mexico City,consumption,lending libraries,sustainability science,bibliotecas de cosas,economía colaborativa,teoría de la práctica,consumo,Ciudad de México,ciencias de la sustentabilidad},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Borrowed practices : renew or hold : examining the potential for the spreading of libraries of things in Mexico City through social practice},
  year         = {2017},
}