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Absolute Poverty in EuropeInterdisciplinary Perspectives on a Hidden Phenomenon$
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Helmut Gaisbauer, Gottfried Schweiger, and Clemens Sedmak

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781447341284

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447341284.001.0001

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Absolute poverty and the EU Social Policy Agenda

Absolute poverty and the EU Social Policy Agenda

Chapter:
(p.289) 14 Absolute poverty and the EU Social Policy Agenda
Source:
Absolute Poverty in Europe
Author(s):

Helmut P. Gaisbauer

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447341284.003.0014

In recent decades, charitable food assistance has grown into a prevalent way to respond to hunger as a manifestation of severe or absolute poverty that persists even in the affluent European Welfare States. Food charity has been often framed as a social innovation that aims to bring together and, thereby, solve the problems of overproduction of food and people who do not have enough food. This paper problematizes this perception by discussing the puzzles behind the seemingly propitious arrangement by utilizing the emergent concept of the charity economy. By examining food charity as part of the charity economy, we argue that food charity is an indication of, rather than an effective solution to the problems of persistent severe or absolute poverty and food waste. Faith-based organizations participate in the institutionalization and entrenchment of such a secondary market for non-consumers that actually rests on what the food charity system proclaims to fight against.

Keywords:   food assistance, charity economy, faith-based organizations, Finland, poverty, food waste

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