“Turning the sharing economy into a fair economy”: Strategic issue work in the Vienna City Administration

Sebastian Vith, Markus Höllerer

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Over the last years, and under the umbrella of the “sharing economy,” various new social practices and novel business models have been established worldwide. Such practices and models are perceived both as opportunity and challenge for existing (urban) public governance regimes. It is in this sense that the sharing economy has become a contested issue and regularly provokes bold governance responses. However, local governing authorities first need to interpret, negotiate, and establish what exactly is “at issue” in order to (re-)act adequately. While such “politics of signification” are well-studied, for instance, in social movements and public media discourse, research on the concerted framing activities of public administrations as well as on the strategic work that sets the stage for public policy-making is relatively sparse – and entirely lacking for the context of the sharing economy. In this chapter, the authors look behind the scenes of the policy-making in the City of Vienna, Austria. The empirical findings unearth six distinct mechanisms –“delimiting,” “negotiating,” “detailing,” “linking,” “justifying,” and “situating” – that are strategically applied to shape the “Viennese way” of governing the sharing economy. This research develops an in-depth understanding of what the authors conceptually dub “strategic issue work”: the manifold efforts that lead to, and underlie, in this case, the policymaking of a local government when it tries to come to terms with the governance challenges of the sharing economy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187 - 213
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502052 Business administration
  • 506009 Organisation theory
  • 502024 Public economy
  • 504030 Economic sociology
  • 507

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