Paradoxes in the Management of Timebanks in the UK’s Voluntary Sector: Discursive Bricolage and its Limits

Abstract

This paper contributes to our understanding of volunteer management by charting some important challenges associated with the governance of one of the UK’s largest timebanking networks. While timebanking is often treated as a form of volunteering, many timebank advocates are keen to distinguish it sharply from traditional volunteering. We suggest that this tension generates a fundamental ‘performance paradox’ in the management of timebanks in the voluntary sector. We draw on political discourse theory to characterise and evaluate associated challenges, suggesting that, when viewed against a host of context-specific organisational and policy pressures, the progressive potential of timebanking cannot be realised as a distinct community economy without adequate support. Instead of taking up a position alongside more traditional forms of volunteering, timebanking is more likely to be subsumed by them

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