Blessing or curse for regions and firms? Narratives of the sharing economy as an innovative practice in a rural region in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The sharing economy (SE) literature has grown rapidly in recent years. The literature has focused on the diffusion of SE in metropolitan regions, while rural regions have been almost entirely overlooked. To fill this gap, the article examines the SE in a rural region in Norway to explore how it is framed by key actors in regional development at different spatial scales. The article treats the SE as a mechanism through which new knowledge, practices, and routines are developed. The analytical framework reveals how pro-SE and con-SE narratives co-evolve through both endogenous and exogenous factors within the region. The narratives are heterogenic. The pro-SE narrative articulates a viable source of economic growth in regions, whereas the con-SE narrative highlights a fear of undermining rural tourism and liberalization of labour. The article extends the SE literature by providing insights into how innovation paths relate to discursive processes in a rural context. The authors conclude that the SE can both increase positive development paths and obstruct regional development processes, depending on the strength of influence from contextual factors, namely policy regulations.