Resilience or Resistance? Time banking in the age of austerity

Lee Gregory

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Within the UK the economic crisis has been utilised by the coalition government to promote a very specific policy response. Through the notion of ‘austerity’ there has been an efficient attack on welfare provision, building on the tradition of UK governments since the 1980s, to demonise welfare claimants, advocate cultural and behavioural explanations of social problems and continue to pursue a neo-liberal policy agenda. The coalition government has associated this with the need to further promote self-help through the localism and, now defunct, Big Society agendas. This paper explores one initiative promoted by the UK coalition government within both the Big Society and social care reform: time banking. Time banking is a form of community currency which has developed globally since the 1980s (including a number of European countries) and in the UK since the late-1990s. The paper sets out how austerity and the Big Society present a particular form of neo-liberalism within the UK and are built upon the notion of responsibilisation. How time banking is drawn into the Big Society is then illustrated before examining the potential for promoting resistance to neo-liberal ideas and practice and the challenges faced by efforts to resist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2014


  • austerity
  • Big Society
  • Neo-liberalism
  • Time Banking


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