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Austerity, Community Action, and the Future of Citizenship$
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Shana Cohen, Christina Fuhr, and Jan-Jonathan Bock

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447331032

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447331032.001.0001

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Social initiatives and social solidarity under austerity

Social initiatives and social solidarity under austerity

(p.171) Eleven Social initiatives and social solidarity under austerity
Austerity, Community Action, and the Future of Citizenship

Christina Fuhr

Policy Press

The 2008 financial crisis resulted in a protracted recession in Europe of a kind not seen since the Great Depression. Austerity policies in both countries have increased the presence of and need for social initiatives such as foodbanks and, with them, civic engagement. Foodbanks are often viewed as social solidarity organisations that usually distribute donated food among people in need. Considering that Germany and the UK have both seen a considerable expansion of foodbanks in recent years, this chapter, using the method of ethnography, examines to what extent and thereby how foodbanks in Germany and the UK can construct social solidarity under austerity. The chapter argues that while foodbanks can create a societal representation of solidarity, they can also reproduce social stratification and segregation on the ground. It shows that foodbanks can generate a public image of solidarity on the macro-level, meaning on the societal level, but may struggle to do so on the micro-level, in other words in the interactions between service providers and recipients.

Keywords:   Foodbanks, Germany, segregation, solidarity, Tafel, The Trussell Trust, UK, volunteering

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