Social Space for Self-Organising: An Exploratory Study of Timebanks in Finland and in the UK
Keywords:time banks, community building, alternative economies, social ontology, governance, volunteerism
The article examines the challenges to self-organisation and upscaling of alternative economies from the viewpoint of defending and negotiating social space. Timebanks in Finland and the UK are presented as examples, analysing the difference of defending such social space in the contexts of a traditional welfare state (in the case of Finland) and an austerity-driven government with a “Big Society” ideology (in the case of UK). Both systems of government present different kinds of pressures on timebanks, pushing them to a given ontological categories and to action in accordance with pre-defined political goals. This difference, along with timebank reactions and the question of prospects of opening ontological space, is analysed through material from observation, interviews with timebanks activists and brokers, and survey data from timebank users.
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