The political potential of Time Banking (14365)
Kathi Weeks (2011) argues that since the global financial crisis the contradictions surrounding waged work appear to have intensified. Waged work is reified more than ever as both a moral imperative and linked to conceptions of what it means to be a ‘good’ neoliberal citizen. Yet unemployment has simultaneously increased in many societies around the world and those ‘lucky’ enough to be in waged work face increasing precarity and reduced workplace rights. In this paper I reflect on how a community economies approach provides a useful framework to explore how members of the Wellington Time Bank are engaging in alternative exchange practices to meet their needs while also fostering a community of care. I discuss the re-subjectivation encounters that members experience through participation in the Time Bank and how the focus on relational trading (or what Richard Day, 2004 might call a ‘politics of action’) enables the collective to partially avoid exclusionary and fixed representations of what it means to be involved in ‘alternative’ exchange networks. Through this paper I highlight the ways in which contemporary subjects are always multiply positioned in relation to neoliberal capitalist narratives which seek to exert their dominance, but that through embodied trades, they are able to perform other ways of being which articulate radical political possibilities.
Weeks, K. (2011) The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Day, R. (2004) ‘From hegemony to affinity’, Cultural Studies 18:716-748.