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Free Content The moral maze of food bank use

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The foodbank symbolises a changing landscape of social insecurity and welfare conditionality. Attending to decision making within the foodbank system, this article argues that foodbanks, and their referral-system creates a bureaucratic ‘moral maze’ identifying people as ‘deserving’ or ‘undeserving’ of help. Maintaining a moral distance, organised religious foodbanks are reliant upon a complex outsourcing of moral decisions and walk a fine balance between supply (donations) and demand (use). Within this article, we argue that the foodbank landscape is akin to navigating a moral maze, and that this creates, and justifies decisions of deservingness.

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Keywords: bureaucracy; decision making; foodbank; neoliberalism; welfare reform

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Salford, UK 2: Bangor University, UK

Publication date: October 2020

This article was made available online on June 15, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "The moral maze of food bank use".

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