Reflecting on Paraliminality as a Theoretical Lens to Understand Experiences of Food Insecurity
AffiliationUniversity of Bristol; University of Chester
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Other TitlesResearching Poverty and Austerity: Theoretical Approaches, Methodologies and Policy Applications
AbstractIn this chapter we reflect on how theoretical perspectives, such as liminality, can be useful for researchers seeking to understand and alleviate lived experiences of poverty. We draw on how we deployed liminality theory in a recently published paper (Moraes et al., 2021), to conceptualise lived experiences of food insecurity as transitional; as fluctuating between phases of everyday food access and food marketplace exclusion. By using liminality as an exemplar theoretical perspective, we discuss a concept that we developed and termed paraliminality, a hybrid of two types of liminality phenomena that is both empowering and generative of a lasting form of indeterminate state. In reflecting upon paraliminality, we argue that it can illuminate the social mechanisms, practices and spaces that co-construct people’s more enduring, but fluid, experiences and phases of food insecurity and food access efforts. We illustrate the main theoretical arguments being made with data from our study of food insecurity (McEachern et al., 2020), involving interviews with people who were experiencing food insecurity, volunteers who were providing access to food aid, and fieldwork photographs of the independent foodbanks and pantries who took part in the research. The chapter contributes to food insecurity, poverty and marketplace exclusion scholarship by reflecting on the importance of using theoretical lenses in qualitative research work, and by reflecting on, and deploying, an illustrative research project to explain how theory can be used and why it matters.
CitationMoraes, C., McEachern, M. G., Gibbons, A., & Scullion, L. (2023). Reflecting on paraliminality as a theoretical lens to understand experiences of food insecurity. In C. Moraes, M. G. McEachern, & D. O'Loughlin (Eds.) Researching poverty and austerity: Theoretical approaches, methodologies and policy applications. Routledge.
DescriptionThis is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in [Researching poverty and austerity: Theoretical approaches, methodologies and policy applications] on [30th November 2023], available online: https://www.routledge.com/Researching-Poverty-and-Austerity-Theoretical-Approaches-Methodologies/Moraes-McEachern-OLoughlin/p/book/9781032127774
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