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Designing Community Economies: Exploring Alternatives for Infrastructuring Food Waste Activism
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9406-8898
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

By drawing on past CSCW and SHCI scholarship engaged with how technology can support the collaborative work of organising activism and empowering people to respond to diverse sustainability challenges– my research contributes to the emerging field of digital civics by introducing the human geography concept ‘community economies’ as a new way to frame and determine the scope of the design of digital technologies for infrastructuring food waste activism. Using a combination of ethnographic research and participatory action research (PAR), the empirical data were collected through two long-term collaborations with food-sharing communities in Denmark and Sweden and through a collaboration with researchers on a related project that focused on a food-sharing community in Germany. The findings and contributions of the work include (1) the identification of the key concerns, values, and existing sociotechnical practices involved in establishing and maintaining activist food-sharing communities, (2) insights into and reflections on the design of sociotechnical practices that support food-sharing as a form of community economy, considering challenges such as recognising the variegated capacities of participants and balancing diverse and sometimes conflicting community values, and (3) the determination of how new food-sharing communities scale their impact in different ways such by growing larger, joining forces with other local food initiatives, or proliferating by learning from similar, more established communities in different locations. The discussion centres around three key dimensions that address the research questions; food-sharing as activism, designing sociotechnical sharing and governance practices, and designing community economies. Within these areas, I discuss the tensions that emerged regarding the role of technology in the three communities and unpack how a combination of existing mainstream technologies and bespoke civic technologies act as an infrastructure for the organisation, enactment, and proliferation of community-led food-sharing initiatives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University , 2023. , p. 77
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 23-007
Keywords [en]
Digital Civics, Food-Sharing, Activism, Food Waste, Community Economies, PAR
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Information Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-219966ISBN: 978-91-8014-412-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-8014-413-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-219966DiVA, id: diva2:1786719
Public defence
2023-09-22, Aula NOD, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kista, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-08-30 Created: 2023-08-09 Last updated: 2023-08-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Queuing for Waste: Sociotechnical Interactions within a Food Sharing Community
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Queuing for Waste: Sociotechnical Interactions within a Food Sharing Community
2021 (English)In: CHI’21: Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2021, article id 301Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the practices of organising face-to-face events of a volunteer-run food-sharing community in Denmark. The ethnographic fieldwork draws attention to the core values underlying the ways sharing events are organised, and how - through the work of volunteers - surplus food is transformed from a commodity to a gift. The findings illustrate the community’s activist agenda of food waste reduction, along with the volunteers’ concerns and practical labour of running events and organising the flow of attendees through various queuing mechanisms. The paper contributes to the area of Food and HCI by: i) outlining the role of queuing in organising activism and ii) reflecting on the role that values, such as collective care and commons, can play in structuring queuing at face-to-face events.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2021
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Information Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-200513 (URN)10.1145/3411764.3445059 (DOI)978-1-4503-8096-6 (ISBN)
Conference
2021 ACM CHI Virtual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'21), virtual, May 8-13, 2021
Available from: 2022-01-06 Created: 2022-01-06 Last updated: 2023-08-09Bibliographically approved
2. “This is not a free supermarket”: Reconsidering Queuing at Food-Sharing Events
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“This is not a free supermarket”: Reconsidering Queuing at Food-Sharing Events
2021 (English)In: C&T '21: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Communities & Technologies - Wicked Problems in the Age of Tech / [ed] Florian Cech; Shelly Farnham, New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2021, p. 319-331Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper addresses the sociotechnical challenges of organising queuing at large scale, face-to-face, food-sharing events. The authors have partnered with a grassroots food-sharing community, FoodSharing Copenhagen (FS-CPH), to reconsider queuing practices at food-sharing events. The results present three “queuing canvases” that illustrate how FS-CPH members envision digitally mediated queuing at food-sharing events. The paper outlines three themes that emerge from this design work: communicating activism through queuing, encountering others through queuing, and transparency in queuing mechanisms. We discuss how the envisioned ideas illustrate novel perspectives on queuing in volunteer-driven settings, while sometimes falling back on accepted norms and common expectations of how queuing should work. To address this, we present a set of sensitivities, for designers and activists alike, to design for queuing in settings where non-monetary sharing is central.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2021
Keywords
Participatory Action Research, Food-sharing, Volunteer-driven Initiatives, Queuing
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Information Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-200350 (URN)10.1145/3461564.3461582 (DOI)2-s2.0-85109409682 (Scopus ID)978-1-4503-9056-9 (ISBN)
Conference
10th International Conference on Communities & Technologies (C&T '21), Seattle, USA (virtual), June 21-15, 2021
Available from: 2022-01-04 Created: 2022-01-04 Last updated: 2023-08-11Bibliographically approved
3. (Re-)Distributional Food Justice: Negotiating conflicting views of fairness within a local grassroots community
Open this publication in new window or tab >>(Re-)Distributional Food Justice: Negotiating conflicting views of fairness within a local grassroots community
Show others...
2023 (English)In: CHI '23: Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems / [ed] Albrecht Schmidt; Kaisa Väänänen;Tesh Goyal; Per Ola Kristensson; Anicia Peters; Stefanie Mueller; Julie R. Williamson; Max L. Wilson, 2023, article id 136Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Sustainable HCI and Human-Food-Interaction research have developed an interest in preventing food waste through food sharing. Sustainability requires attention to both the opportunities and challenges associated with the building of food-sharing groups engaged in the redistribution of food but also in developing a wider agenda which includes, for instance, the local production of food resources. In this paper, we argue for a better understanding of the different conceptions of ‘fairness’ which inform volunteer and guest practice and in turn mediate community-building efforts. We examine the practices surrounding ‘SharingEvent’ and challenges faced to sustainability by the heterogenous, and sometimes contested, commitments of the people involved. We further consider how ICT provided opportunities for explicit examination of ideological differences concerning what ‘sharing’ might mean. Our findings show that community building is dependent on the negotiation of different values and purposes identified. We derive recommendations for action-oriented researchers ultimately concerned with systemic transformation.

Keywords
Food Sharing, Surplus, Grassroots, Community, Justice, Fairness
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Information Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-219965 (URN)10.1145/3544548.3581527 (DOI)2-s2.0-85160023556 (Scopus ID)
Conference
CHI '23: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 23-28 April 2023, 2023, Hamburg Germany.
Available from: 2023-08-09 Created: 2023-08-09 Last updated: 2023-10-19Bibliographically approved
4. Learning from Other Communities: Organising Collective Action in a Grassroots Food-sharing Initiative
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Learning from Other Communities: Organising Collective Action in a Grassroots Food-sharing Initiative
2023 (English)In: Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper illustrates the work of creating, infrastructuring, and organising a food-sharing community from the ground up. Drawing on Participatory Action Research (PAR) and a three-year engagement with FoodSharing Stockholm, the paper shows how the processes of starting up a grassroots initiative are shaped by participants’ direct experience and knowledge of similar initiatives. The analysis draws attention to: (1) how central activities such as recruiting volunteers, choosing digital tools, and establishing partnerships with food donors are conceived and organised, (2) the concrete challenges of sharing surplus food, such as adopting a distribution model and negotiating fairness, and (3) how governance and decision-making models are adopted and (re)negotiated over time. The paper introduces the term Collective histories of organising to capture the impact that learning from previous experiences can have on communities' efforts to set up and run. Moreover, it re-orients design visions towards the consideration and adoption of existing sociotechnical practices, rather than always aiming at novel digital explorations. We outline three emerging dimensions that characterise “Collective histories of organising” as a concept, (1) configuring capacities, (2) configuring sociotechnical practices, and (3) configuring participation. The paper contributes practical sensitivities, for both designers and other food-sharing communities, to build, sustain, and infrastructure surplus food-sharing initiatives.

Keywords
PAR, learning, infrastructuring, collective action
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Information Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-219963 (URN)10.1007/s10606-023-09468-5 (DOI)001047762000001 ()2-s2.0-85167881635 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-08-09 Created: 2023-08-09 Last updated: 2023-10-04Bibliographically approved

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