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NEW SSE DISSERTATION

Gianluca Chimenti - Performing Ambiguity?: Following Multiplicity in Shared Mobility Markets

How do markets change and develop over time? The present PhD project focuses on the dynamic effects of market change in the context of the sharing economy. This phenomenon is of particular interest since it concerns how alternative market forms – such as gifting, collaborating, accessing – are challenging established market conceptions. Empirically, the project addresses emerging shared mobility platforms (ride sharing, car sharing, etc.) and follows their attempts to reconfigure extant market orders within the Swedish transportation sector. By turning the infamous conceptual confusion that surrounds the sharing economy into a topic in its own right, the individual studies address a number of issues related to the formation and change of markets in ambiguous environments. This includes, but is not limited to, the examination of conceptual controversies concerning what “the sharing economy” is, the changing roles of public actors, and issue of overlapping spaces during processes of marketisation.

Using an Actor Network Theory approach across a number of empirical sites in Sweden and Ireland, this dissertation highlights the productive role of ambiguity in processes of market formation and change. The four articles comprising this thesis explore how ambiguity can be seized by a multitude of actors all wishing to shape markets in their own interests, potentially creating multiple economic consequences and material realities as a result. In addition, it illustrates how individual shared mobility markets exhibit clear systemic properties within and beyond the larger mobility realm; they depend significantly on enacted interrelations to other markets (e.g., for digital locks, batteries, telecommunication) and rely on broader, popular socio-economic trends, such as Sharing Cities and Smart Cities. Lastly, despite that the digitalisation is often associated with the removal of spatial barriers and borderless worlds, this dissertation combines insights from marketing and economic geography to illustrate that the many contingencies of local geographies still remain an important facet of contemporary economic organising.

Gianluca Chimenti is a researcher and teacher at the Department of Marketing and Strategy at the Stockholm School of Economics. As a German native, Gianluca believes in the Humboldtian model of higher education (Humboldtsches Bildungsideal) that follows a credo of combining research, practice and teaching. His research, like his teaching, reflects a passionate interest in marketing, culture and economic geography, particularly in ambiguous and controversial environments. On a good day, he speaks six languages.

Gianluca Chimenti - Performing Ambiguity?: Following Multiplicity in Shared Mobility Markets

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