The moral maze of foodbank use

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  • 2020 moral maze of foodbank use

    Accepted author manuscript, 999 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 15/06/21


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.


  • bureaucracy, decision making, foodbank, neoliberalism, welfare reform
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-399
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Poverty and Social Justice
Issue number3
Early online date15 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
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