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New article by Dr Anita Howarth on the polarized public debates in Britain related to hunger and the normalization of foodbanks

A new article has been published by Dr Anita Howarth that looks at the sharply polarized public debates in Britain around issues of hunger and the normalization of foodbanks. Government supporters laud their presence as a timely revival of an earlier tradition of voluntarism able to offset an unaffordable welfare state or stigmatize foodbanks as new spaces of ‘dependency’. Critics view foodbanks as a consequence of ministerial indifference to growing hunger and a betrayal of the core values envisaged by the founders of the welfare state. The very presence of foodbanks in one of the richest countries in the world is denounced as a national scandal that violates an intrinsic quality of Britishness and signifies a regression to an earlier, more heartless era. In mooting this argument, critics have deployed a Victorian trope that evokes familiar figures and narratives from popular culture in a circular social imaginary of ‘what we were’ in the Victorian era as distinct from ‘what we have been’ in the post-war welfare state to ‘what we are reverting to’ now. The article, "A British national scandal: hunger, foodbanks, and the deployment of a Dickensian trope", critically deconstructs the trope as a device to hold the government to account while also critiquing its nostalgia rooted in a mythic notion of the welfare state which was never as inclusive as popular imagining would believe. You can read more about and access the article on the journal's website.