The Luxury of Sharing
Collaborative consumption in Lebanon: Reasons why consumers do and do not engage in sharing practices
Sharing has become a major trend in many Western countries over the past decade, especially in the USA and in Western Europe. Not only have long existing forms of garden sharing, or apartment sharing witnessed a revival and inspired enthusiasm especially among millennials. The spectrum of tangible and intangible assets being shared is wider than ever ranging from cars, bikes or working spaces to skills, knowledge, time, art and all kinds of data. Furthermore, the reasons why people share, the dimensions of sharing circles as well as the manner of sharing vary significantly. This is reflected by the anything but consistent use of a number of terms describing the phenomenon as ‘sharing economy’, ‘collaborative economy’, ‘peer economy’ or else ‘collaborative consumption’. It is fair to say that sharing has become a part of Western consumer culture.
Although differences have been found between Muslims and Christians in Lebanon regarding the acquisition of global consumer culture, the acquisition of such a culture emanating from the West cannot be denied. Thus, the Lebanese consumer culture in comparison with other Middle Eastern countries bears a number of similarities with Western consumerism. This arises the question of whether the trend of sharing, which can be considered as a part of Western consumer culture, has reached Lebanon as well.