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Food Insecurity and Food Aid in ‘Advanced’ Neoliberalism: Interrogating the trajectory of neoliberalism through a study of food insecurity and food aid in contemporary Bradford

Power, Madeleine (2017) Food Insecurity and Food Aid in ‘Advanced’ Neoliberalism: Interrogating the trajectory of neoliberalism through a study of food insecurity and food aid in contemporary Bradford. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis explores whether a particular form of neoliberalism – aligned with contemporaneous constructions of religion and race – constitutes a meta-narrative to explain food aid and food insecurity. It addresses two religions (Christianity; Islam) and two ethnic groups (white-British; Pakistani). It uses a mixed-methods case-study of Bradford, composed of three interlinked studies. Study 1 involved focus groups and interviews with food aid providers/stakeholders (N=27). In Study 2, data from the Born in Bradford study were matched with data on food insecurity and self-reported general health from the nested Born in Bradford 1000 study, and mental health data from GP records (N=1280). Study 3 involved three focus groups and one interview with Pakistani-Muslim (N=8) and white-British (N=8) women in/at risk of food insecurity. There is a relationship between socioeconomic status and both food insecurity and the use of food aid. Secular and religious food aid is becoming formalised as part of a denuded welfare system and, within this system, service providers and users pathologise and individualise (food) poverty, and deny racial difference. Food insecure participants are controlled within and outside food aid, particularly via self-surveillance. Nevertheless, food aid usage, and the experience and health impacts of food insecurity, are shaped by ethnic and religious identity in addition to socioeconomic status. Food aid is a multifaceted phenomenon; it cannot be defined as a ‘shadow state’. Religious involvement in food aid is underpinned not by belief in the superiority of religious welfare but a Caritas framework. Food aid best emulates nineteenth-century systems of philanthropy, shaped by Calvinist ideas of the deserving/undeserving poor. Outside food aid, systems of mutual aid – often informed by Islam – operate despite the neoliberal state. This case-study suggests that whilst a neoliberal meta-narrative may explain components of contemporary food aid and food insecurity, it cannot describe the phenomena in their entirety.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Health Sciences (York)
Depositing User: Miss Madeleine Power
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2019 14:19
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 14:19
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22593

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