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Title: Food co-ops in austerity Britain : negotiating politics, aid and care in changing times
Author: Plender, C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 2362
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis is concerned with experiences of social, political and economic change in Britain. In an era of fluctuating food prices, precarious subjectivities and environmental concerns, everyday issues such as food (a basic human need and right) become significant sites through which to offer a grounded perspective on how everyday citizens configure their social and financial worlds in relation to these changes. By focussing on two grassroots, retail food co-ops in London which were born of different eras, this thesis explores the ways in which each food co-op negotiates different visions and values relating to food-based politics, models of aids, practices of care and community building. Within this context, contradictory visions and practices can become intertwined - some more closely aligned with the co-operative ideal of mutual aid, others with less egalitarian models of charitable giving, or individualised practices and values of politics, aid and care. While this country has been going through processes of reform (often characterised as neoliberal reform) since the 1970s, the financial crisis of 2008 and resultant period of austerity had a significant impact on the nature of politics, the economy and the lives of everyday citizens in Britain. These political economic shifts have done much to inform and adjust the ideals, practices and structures of these two food co-ops. The social histories presented here, therefore, help to contextualise how each food co-op has been structured and informed by the social worlds around them; how their foundations were moulded by a particular moment in time; and, how they sit within the present, at times a little uncomfortably. This social, cultural, political economic and historical context is, therefore, fundamental to how food co-ops operate, and how they operationalise the basic principles of co-operativism.
Supervisor: West, H. ; Masquelier, C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: co-operatives ; food ; food co-op ; community ; social anthropology ; political economic change ; care ; mutual aid ; Britain ; austerity ; welfare reform ; activism ; social movements