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Article

Это не просто бизнес: социальная составляющая российского краудфандинга

Латышева А. Н.

In this overview, I examine the history of the term “crowdfunding” and analyze different theoretical approaches to its definition. Primarily as a business tactic. Many crowdfunding projects are related to multimedia: music, video-games, book publishing and so on. Besides, it is an element of alternative economic processes, which was mentioned in the work of Manuel Castells – sponsors organize their community within one platform so as to facilitate the creation of a product or service that they desire. As many Russian researchers note most sponsors of crowdfunding projects have a motivation that transcends the purely material, which is lost when examining the phenomenon of crowdfunding as a simple exchange of money for goods and services. I highlight the advantages of the latter approach and propose a definition which unites different points of view. I categorize leading Western crowdfunding platforms (Kickstarter and IndieGoGo), list preeminent specialized platforms, perform an in-depth analysis of the largest Russian crowdfunding services (Planeta.ru and Boomstarter). Besides I examine the website Sbor-nik, which is used to crowdfund the publishing of books, as an example of a specialized platform . Statistics regarding the number of projects launched, active users and funds collected are presented for each platform. The non-material motivation of users is paid particular attention – I present examples of social and charity projects that were present of the abovementioned platforms, as well as cases where users actually refused material rewards or chose non-material ones. I highlight the socio-cultural preferences of backers and sponsors on various platforms. After all, I  attempt to define crowdfunding as a societal and cultural phenomenon, and analyze the particularities of crowdfunding in Russia. I argue that crowdfunding is being considered by the people who patronize various services as a supplementary method of funding important projects in areas, where the failures of social and cultural policies of the state fail.