Exploring the Social Dynamics of Online Bartering

Zeynep Arsel, Concordia University, Canada
With the exception of few studies, bartering behavior remains a highly understudied phenomenon in consumer behavior literature. With this research, I depict the social dynamics of an online community that has constructed a self-sustaining, self-regulating and interactive bartering system of used cosmetics. Through a multi-method investigation that incorporates netnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews, I examine the processes that sustain this informal market system. Additionally, I discuss the vulnerabilities that participants face by partaking in exchanges that violate the legal, economic and hygiene norms of the formal marketplace. Lastly, I discuss the coping mechanisms that the participants employ to address these vulnerabilities.
[ to cite ]:
Zeynep Arsel (2010) ,"Exploring the Social Dynamics of Online Bartering", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 65-68 .