WP 3


Our research setting in WP 3 is the German carsharing market. Carsharing can be defined as a service that provides on-demand access to cars. We examine how the carsharing market category was constructed from the beginning of its history in 1988 to 2015 and what kinds of business models the operators had. By doing this, we seek to elaborate, how it was possible, that carsharing markets rose to blossom even though car and particularly owning one is considered a status symbol and a source of social valuation.

The sharing economy is changing the way people buy and use products by shifting the economic model from ownership of goods to temporary access to them. The development of sharing services is often perceived to emerge from collective social movement-based behavior, driven by resistance to capitalist hegemony. The carharing market was originally dominated by organizations belonging to a social movement that started at the turn of the 1990s motivated by putting an end to the overpowering problem of private cars in city traffic that caused environmental and social problems. During the 1990s and 2000s, the popularity of the service grew steadily, and the social movement organizations professionalized and formed an umbrella organization called Bundesverband CarSharing (BCS) to safeguard the political interests of the movement.

We thus examine, what were the conditions that hindered the stigmatization of car sharing services and enabled the service become maninstreamed.