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Food banks and the production of scarcity

May, J., Williams, Andrew ORCID:, Cloke, P. and Cherry, L 2020. Food banks and the production of scarcity. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 45 (1) , pp. 208-222. 10.1111/tran.12340

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This paper contributes to critical discussions of austerity by examining the constructions of scarcity that underpin it. Specifically, it shows how notions of scarcity (re)emergent in a period of austerity have shaped materially insufficient and stigmatising welfare systems. We do this through the example of UK food banks. We suggest that under austerity a particular moral economy of scarcity has become embedded at the level of common sense, including in the common sense of many of those distributing food aid. In UK food banks this moral economy is shaped by images of the “empty cupboard” and discourses of absolute hunger which normalise practices of (self)rationing and exacerbate food insecurity. Tracing attempts by some food bank managers and volunteers to challenge this moral economy, we conclude with a critical agenda for academics and practitioners to rethink relationships between welfare, austerity, and scarcity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0020-2754
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 August 2019
Date of Acceptance: 6 August 2019
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 20:39

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