Welfare reform in the wake of austerity has fostered increased interest in self-help initiatives within the community sector. Amongst these, time banking, one of a number of complementary currency systems, has received increasing attention from policy makers as a means for promoting welfare reform. This book is the first to look at the concept of time within social policy to examine time banking theory and practice. By drawing on the social theory of time to examine the tension between time bank values and those of policy makers, it argues that time banking is a constructive means of promoting social change but is hindered by its co-option into neo-liberal thinking. This book will be valuable for academics/researchers with an interest in community-based initiatives, the third/voluntary sectors and theoretical analysis of social policy and political ideologies.
Visually and pedagogically rich, this wide-ranging introduction to key concepts and debates in welfare uses an innovative, question-based narrative to highlight the importance of theory to understanding welfare. In particular, it:
• Introduces concepts that are core to how policy is formulated and implemented.
• Provides students with a comprehensive vocabulary and toolkit for analysing policy examples and developing social science arguments.
• Includes stimulus material, diagrams, critical thinking activities, further reading lists and a companion website containing further policy examples, podcasts and class activities.
Written by an experienced and inspiring lecturer, this book is suitablefor undergraduate students of social policy, sociology, politics, public policy, social work, health and social care, particularly those taking courses on ‘welfare theory’,‘principles of social policy’, ‘key issues in welfare policy’ and similar. Using some of the hottest current debates about the problems and benefits of state-funded welfare, this book develops students’ social science understanding and analytic skills.
This chapter concludes the argument of the book, reiterate the key components around neo-liberal hybrids, market and non-market values and practices, the role of time banking as a mechanism of the latter and its co-option into the former and the potential use of time theory to start challenging this co-option. The discussion then moves on to outline the broader analytical framework and its suitability to analysing social policies as well as offering some final comments on the potential for developing alternative (non-neo-liberal) policies. Some considerations are offered as the starting point for an ongoing effort to consider alternatives to neo-liberalism, their promotion within welfare reform and efforts to further research these developments.
This chapter introduces the main themes of the book. It begins by exploring the current social and economic climate and how this leads to a search for alternative forms of practice for delivering welfare. Introducing time banking, a form of community currency with overlaps with volunteering, as one such mechanism the chapter examines why the use of time theory is relevant to a study of the use of time banking in welfare provision. This importance rests upon the possibility of using time banking within the dominant neo-liberal paradigm but also as a means of promoting non-neo-liberal values. This tension is the central focus of the book.
Returning to the argument of co-option outlined in Chapter Two this chapter examines the barriers to be overcome if time banking is to articulate non-neo-liberal values. This discussion is built around the concepts of resilience and resistance. The former is used to refer to the use of time banking within the neo-liberal paradigm as a means of fostering a particular form of community self-help which seeks to promote and sustain the status quo: locating the social problems and their solution at the community/individual level. This co-option is evidenced by drawing upon the analysis of third sector organisations and the isomorphism that has occurred. The latter, resistance, is used to discuss the potential alternative articulation outlined in Chapter 5 and the potential of time banking, built around the social theory of time analysis, to offer a theory and practice that can generate social change, and the wider welfare reforms needed to support this.
One of the key arguments presented in Chapter Four is that despite the radical potential of time banking to offer a challenge to the dominance of neo-liberal thinking this has been neutered by the development of its practices. This chapter draws together the argument for the core economy, presented in time bank theory as embedded in non-market values, with the arguments for relative time, time wealth and uchronia presented in Chapter Three to suggest that time is at the core of non-market values and that time bank practices allow for this to be promoted. This argument is built upon a discussion of active citizenship and self-help to demonstrate that alternative values exist within current practices, but are rarely articulated. Consequently the chapter provides this re-formulation of practice.
Moving beyond the contextual and theoretical discussions of previous chapters it is now possible to start to consider specific policy proposals. As mentioned in Chapter One this is centred on the practices of time banking. As such the discussion in this chapter outlines the historical development of time banking, the key theory related to notions of co-production, the market economy and the core economy and the international development of time bank practice. Through this discussion the application of this form of exchange is explored internationally and in relation to welfare applications.
In this chapter the political context of the discussion is set. It starts by exploring the argument of neo-liberal hybridity, that neo-liberal economic theory interacts within the political context of nations to form different, local, variations. Mapping this hybridisation in the UK from the 1980s the chapter moves on to explore how the current economic crisis and claims of a need for austerity are a continuation of the hybrid development. Illustrating this development the chapter examines changes in the notion of citizenship, the promotion of the Big Society and self-help initiatives. Attention is then given to efforts to challenge the dominant conception of social problems through this hybrid neo-liberal lens. Here a discussion of the potential to promote alternative, non-neo-liberal values is examined, alongside the barriers to promoting such values.
This chapter introduces the social theory of time. The first section examines time theory and illustrates both absolute and relative concepts of time. It presents the argument that the development of capitalism has facilitated the dominance of absolute concepts of time and the expense of explicitly recognising relative time within our lived experience. Drawing on both concepts the chapter discusses how social policy analysis has attempted to engage the theory of time to examine welfare practices before moving on to discuss how this theory is relevant to the promotion of non-neo-liberal values and practices. Here the ideas of “Time Wealth” and “Uchronia” are introduced and explained, locating time banking as a potential mechanism for achieving these.
Chapter 1 highlighted how welfare largely rests on provision secured through social policy. In other words, the idea of welfare has practical implications, but the scope and focus of what is practical will be steered by more abstract ideas. This still leaves us with the questions: ‘What is welfare?’ and ‘What is policy trying to achieve in relation to this concept?’. Understanding how welfare is defined allows us to consider not only its importance but also how it is drawn into arguments that justify welfare systems. This chapter starts by exploring the concepts of welfare and wellbeing before going on to examine justifications for state intervention. This discussion will then lead into a review of the concept of social rights.
As such, this chapter offers our starting point into the study of concepts. As noted in Chapter 1, welfare is used both as a concept in its own right and as the outcome of wider conceptual debates. We need to understand the former before the latter, which is the focus of discussion across the majority of the chapters in this book. To start our discussion, I wish to show that a number of dimensions inform the nature of welfare. These will be presented within four components: material, non-material, eudaimonia and capabilities. We will explore each of these in the following section.
How welfare is defined is open to significant interpretation. Daly (2011), for example, outlines three foundation theories drawn from Economics, Politics and Social Policy, and shows how each perspective highlights different concerns and intents.