The Sharing Economy and Sustainability of Urban Destinations in the (Over)tourism Context: The Social Capital Theory Perspective [publication]

Piotr Zmyślony, Grzegorz Leszczyński, Anna Waligóra, Wiesław Alejziak

Abstract: This article contributes to the discussion on the sustainability of the sharing economy by adopting the Social Capital Theory to expand explanations of the sharing economy’s role and scope of relations with local communities in the context of overtourism. As mutual relationships have not been fully recognized through a theoretical perspective, the article aims to examine the sustainability of the process of the sharing economy impacting urban tourism communities in light of Robert Putnam’s approach to Social Capital Theory. On the basis of a selective systematic review, the article discusses the sustainability of the sharing economy through the lens of bridging and bonding social capital. We argue that a new configuration of social capital, i.e., a sharing platform-modified social capital, arises from the unsustainable and disruptive power of the sharing economy implemented by virtual platforms, thereby contributing to an overtourism syndrome. However, from a medium- and long-term perspective, the sharing economy also impacts the bridging nature of social capital, which should lead to a more sustainable balance in its structure. This initial framework for understanding the impact of the sharing economy on sustainability of local communities provides an alternative approach to studying residents’ perceptions and attitudes towards tourism in the areas affected by overtourism.

Keywords: sustainability; sustainable development; Social Capital Theory; sharing economy; collaborative economy; overtourism; tourism; urban tourism; gentrification; tourism impact.


Citation: Zmyślony, P., Leszczyński, G., Waligóra, A., Alejziak, W. (2020). The Sharing Economy and Sustainability of Urban Destinations in the (Over)tourism Context: The Social Capital Theory Perspective, „Sustainability” 12(6), 2310. DOI 10.3390/su12062310 [PDF]

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