In recent years several ‘apps’ have been developed in order to help people exchange both tangible items such as materials or food, and intangible issues such as knowledge and information. Examples are ‘nextdoor’, created to exchange news and other information between neighbours, ‘peerby’, designed to help people lend each other tools and utensils, and ‘thuisafgehaald’, a website facilitating people to cook for others in their neighbourhood. Besides offering practical solutions to ‘use the power, the knowledge and the stock of the masses’, such applications are also often viewed in terms of social cohesion and strengthening neighbourhoods.
In this thesis, we would like to better understand what these apps mean socially – to what extent do they really bring people together, how do people value the social potentialities of these apps and how do the practical and the social relate in this sense? Interesting questions are whether people build relations with other users of such networks, whether do feel attached to other users, and whether they feel part of a community of users, as well as the extent to which they consider these apps as practically useful only.
We are looking for a motivated BSc student that is interested in writing a thesis with the Rural Sociology Group on the topic of neighbourhood apps and the extent to which these can be seen as enhancing sociability in the neighbourhood. The student will engage in a literature-based study, starting literature will be provided by the supervisor. The report will preferably be written in English.
For more information contact Esther Veen.