RGS-IBG 2016 cfp: On demand: cultural economies of access and ownership

On demand: cultural economies of access and ownership

Paper session at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016, London, 30 August – 2 September, 2016. Organisers: Brendan Doody (University of Cambridge) and Lizzie Richardson (University of Cambridge). Sponsors: TGRG

The ways resources are consumed and used are being challenged, renegotiated and reworked across various sectors. In this ‘post-ownership’ story, citizen-consumers are increasingly paying to access goods and services ‘on-demand’, which may be ‘shared’ with other users. Within the transport sector there has been a growth of car-sharing schemes, where drivers pay for access to and short-term use of a shared vehicle (Shaheen & Cohen, 2013; Kent and Dowling 2013; Belk, 2014). The shifting materialities of media continue to alter the relationship between cultural products and identities through the growth of on-demand streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify (Moore, 2013; Tryon 2013; Bailey, 2015). Meanwhile, commercial and domestic spaces are being renegotiated through configurations of access that encourage temporary usage of the site itself (e.g., networked hospitality; co-working spaces) and flexible demand for resources within it (e.g., energy) (Molz 2012; Powells et al., 2014; Guttenberg, 2015).

We are interested in critical approaches that question and complicate the narrative of ‘post-ownership’ to describe these trends. Firstly, to what extent does access query normative understandings of, and practices associated with, ownership? Secondly, what are the implications of access for the qualities and/or quantities of resource usage? Thirdly, how are emotional and ethical attachments realised through everyday negotiations of access and flexibilities of demand?

We welcome papers dealing with issues related (but not limited) to:

a) Changing mode(l)s of access and ownership, together with their (cultural/economic/political/environmental) implications;

b) Empirical studies of how these mode(l)s are being operationalised and negotiated in everyday life (e.g., transport; space (domestic/commercial); media; energy, tools, clothes);

c) Their potential to blur, challenge and disrupt existing imaginaries and practices of access/ownership;

d) The ways in which digital, location-based and smart technologies are integrated into and integral to these mode(l)s;

e) The emotional and ethical implications of access-based and on-demand usage.

Applicants should submit an abstract (~200 words), including a preliminary title, to Brendan Doody (bjd47@cam.ac.uk) and Lizzie Richardson (er305@cam.ac.uk) no later than Friday 12th February 2016. The convenors will notify all authors of whether their paper can be accommodated in the session by Tuesday 16th February. Final confirmation of the session will be provided by the RGS-IBG conference organisers following the deadline for session proposals on 19th February.

The TGRG has a small prize for the best postgraduate presentation in any TGRG session at the RGS-IBG 2016 Conference. If you wish to enter for the Postgraduate Prize a full paper should be submitted to the Chair and Secretary of TGRG, prior to the conference date for judging. For more information and to find out about entry criteria please contact TGRG postgraduate rep Joanna Elvy (gy06jde@leeds.ac.uk).


Bailey, E. (2015). New audiences, new markets: Accessing music, art, and writing at your leisure. In D. Sarver Coombs & S. Collister (Eds.), Debates for the digital age: The good, the bad, and the ugly of our online world (pp. 3-22).

Belk, R. (2014). You are what you can access: Sharing and collaborative consumption online. Journal of Business Research 67 (8): 1595–1600.

Guttentag, D. (2015). Airbnb: Disruptive innovation and the rise of an informal tourism accommodation sector. Current Issues in Tourism 18 (12): 1192–1217.

Kent, J L., & Dowling, R. (2013). “Puncturing automobility? Carsharing practices.” Journal of Transport Geography 32: 86–92.

Molz, J. (2012). CouchSurfing and network hospitality: ‘It’s not just about the furniture’. Hospitality & Society 1 (3): 215–25.

Moore, C. (2013). Distribution Is queen: LGBTQ media on demand. Cinema Journal 53 (1): 137–44.

Powells, G., Bulkeley, H., Bell, S., & Judson, E. (2014). Peak electricity demand and the flexibility of everyday life. Geoforum, 55, 43-52.

Shaheen, S. A., & Cohen, A. P. (2013). Carsharing and personal vehicle services: Worldwide market developments and emerging trends. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, 7(1), 5-34.

Tryon, C. (2013). On-demand culture: Digital delivery and the future of msovies. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.


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