From Trash to Treasure: Freecycle.Org As a Case of Generalized Reciprocity

This study examines Freecycle.org as a gift system with a focus on identifying how reciprocity is enacted. Analyses of netnography, survey, and interview data revealed differences between Freecycle and other gift economies due to the predominance of a “generalized” reciprocity, where goods are given without expectation of anything in return. This contemporary version was witnessed outside kin groups in a virtual community made up of individuals with weak ties but a high level of trust. Reciprocity is realized through the forum’s structure and rules, community, and benefits of membership. Freecycle appears to satisfy both altruism and the egoism of commoditization.



Citation:

Michelle R. Nelson and Mark A. Rademacher (2009) ,"From Trash to Treasure: Freecycle.Org As a Case of Generalized Reciprocity", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 905-905.

Authors

Michelle R. Nelson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Mark A. Rademacher, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA



Volume

NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36 | 2009



Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More

Featured

The Role of Expectations About Changes in Wealth in Discounting Decisions

Abigail Sussman, University of Chicago, USA
Oleg Urminsky, University of Chicago, USA
Shweta Desiraju, University of Chicago, USA

Read More

Featured

Scope Insensitivity in Debt Repayment

Daniel Mochon, Tulane University, USA
Nina Mazar, Boston University, USA
Dan Ariely, Duke University, USA

Read More

Featured

The Impostor Syndrome from Luxury Consumption

Dafna Goor, Harvard Business School, USA
Nailya Ordabayeva, Boston College, USA
Anat Keinan, Harvard Business School, USA
Sandrine Crener, Harvard Business School, USA

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.