Wspólnota znaczeń czy nowoplemię? Etnograficzne badania warszawskiej społeczności couchsurfingowej
A community of meaning or a new tribe? Ethnographic study of the couchsurfing community in Warsaw
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The goal of this paper is to describe the community of couchsurfers – members of the hospitality exchange website Couchsurfing.com. The article is the result of a 2-year-long ethnographic fieldwork that I conducted among the members of Warsaw couchsurfing community. The analysis finds its basis in a conceptual theory of ”symbolic community” (Cohen, 1985). Not only do I try to show the aspect of using the website for travelling purpose (which is present in many papers on Couchsurfing), but I also explore the context of local communities of couchsurfers. Through this I show that it is exactly where the process of negotiation and definition of the couchusurfing values and principles takes place. I also focus on the emerging concerns caused by the change of the financial model of Couchsurfing.com in 2011 and I try to present a broad repertoire of symbolic devices used by couchsurfers in order to affirm and reinforce the boundaries of their community.
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