“Us” and “Them” at the Food Pantry





Food Pantries, Emergency Food, Neoliberalism, Stigma, Charity, Whiteness


First paragraphs:

Food pantries have become a regular part of American life, not only for those who receive food but also for those who provide it through canned food drives, donations at the supermarket, and volunteer events. Millions of adults and chil­dren participate in this form of charity, grateful that they have enough to eat and glad that they have a way to “give back.”

In her new book, Feeding the Other: Whiteness, Privilege, and Neoliberal Stigma in Food Pantries, Rebecca de Souza troubles the narrative by which middle- and upper-class, often white, Americans see themselves as doing good through the charita­ble provision of food. She argues that conventional food assistance reflects and perpetuates the neolib­eral, racist, and patriarchal ideologies that underlie our conventional food system and keep certain people poor and hungry. De Souza uses her ethno­graphic research in two food pantries in Duluth, Minnesota, to show how staff, volunteers, and even cli­ents draw on the neoliberal values of hard work, responsibility, and material wealth to define who deserves food, respect, and citizenship and who deserves suspicion, surveillance, and discipline. . . .


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Author Biography

Amy Rosenthal, Rutgers University

Doctoral candidate at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

Cover of "Feeding the Other"



How to Cite

Rosenthal, A. (2020). “Us” and “Them” at the Food Pantry. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(2), 279–281. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2020.092.021

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