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TU Berlin

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Christian Flick

PhD Candidate of the 3rd Cohort

Technische Universität Berlin

School VI: Planning Building Environment
Department of Sociology

Fraunhoferstraße 33-36

Sekretariatszeichen FH 9-1
10587 Berlin


Tel.: +4930 314 27308

Research Project

In Constant Tension between Markets and Movements. A Field-Theoretical Perspective on Peer-to-Peer Sharing

My dissertation project focusses on the complex interplay between the constitution of market actors and social movements in the case of peer-to-peer sharing.

Profit-oriented peer-to-peer sharing platforms have become dynamic and controversial actors in todays economy, operating in numerous economic sectors (such as accommodation, mobility, private gastronomy or gig working) both transnationally and locally. Private resources like apartments or cars, in the beginning of digital sharing used to provide alternatives to markets as in the case of Couchsurfing (as an alternative to hotel beds) or of the german platform Mitfahrgemeinschaft (as an alternative to for-profit car rentals), now have become market objects themselves. Instead of professional sellers, private individuals now commodify their own ressources, mediated by digital market organizers such as Airbnb or BlaBlaCar. At the same time, resemblances between profit-oriented and non-profit platforms quickly occur when looking at the organizational frames and structures: Both frame their practices by using similar non-market notions closely related to sharing as a „more social“ practice. Furthermore, both not only rely on platforms as their basic infrastructure, but in some cases make use of it to intermediate the same products and services.

Yet, something has changed in recent years. New non-profit platforms and networks have emerged to challenge what they see as „platform capitalism“. Trying to constitute themselves as a social movement and opposing both the term sharing economy and the profit-oriented practices involved, these platforms and networks frame themselves as „platform cooperatives“, aiming to transform alternatives in makets into alternatives to markets once again. This constant tension between the constitution of market actors and social movements, so I argue, needs further examination, guided by the key questions why emerging fields constitute themselves in a specific way and who is shaping the field on the basis of what resources.


Since 2018
Research Fellow at the DFG Graduiertenkolleg "Innovation Society Today", Department of Sociology, Technische Universität Berlin
Junior Researcher at the Institut für Zukunftsstudien und Technologiebewertung (IZT) Berlin
Student Assistant at the Institut für Zukunftsstudien und Technologiebewertung (IZT), Berlin
Master Program Sozialwissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Study abroad, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Student Assistant at the Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik (DIFU), Public Relations Department, Berlin
Bachelor Program Politikwissenschaften, University of Duisburg-Essen
Tutor at the Department of Sociology, University of Duisburg-Essen


Flick, Christian and Henseling, Christine (2019): Plattformen des Peer-to-Peer Sharing, in: Behrendt, Siegfried; Henseling, Christine; Scholl, Gerd (eds.): Digitale Kultur des Teilens. Mit Sharing nachhaltiger Wirtschaften, Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden.

Behrendt, Siegfried; Henseling, Christine; Flick, Christian (2017): Zukunft des Peer-to-Peer Sharing. Schlüsselfaktoren, Szenarien und Herausforderungen, PeerSharing Arbeitsbericht 5, available under: https://www.peer-sharing.de/data/peersharing/user_upload/Dateien/PeerSharing_AP_5.pdf

Gossen, Maike; Henseling, Christine; Bätzing, Maike und Flick, Christian (2016): Peer-to-Peer Sharing: Einschätzungen und Erfahrungen. Ergebnisse einer qualitativen Befragung, PeerSharing Arbeitsbericht 3, available under: http://www.peer-sharing.de/data/peersharing/user_upload/Dateien/PeerSharing_Ergebnispapier_Vorstudie.pdf

Scholl, Gerd.; Behrendt, Siegfried.; Flick, Christian; Gossen, Maike.; Henseling, Christine.; Richter, Lydia (2015): Peer-to-Peer Sharing, Definition und Bestandsaufnahme PeerSharing Arbeitsbericht 1, available under: http://www.peer-sharing.de/data/peersharing/user_upload/Dateien/PeerSharing_Ergebnispapier.pdf



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