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Article
Publication date: 16 December 2020

Amanda Elizabeth Bruck and Kayleigh Garthwaite

We explore how neoliberal logic has led to an erosion of social-welfare programs and pervades organizational structures and functions of a third-sector organization. Based…

Abstract

Purpose

We explore how neoliberal logic has led to an erosion of social-welfare programs and pervades organizational structures and functions of a third-sector organization. Based upon fieldwork in a foodbank in the North-West of England, we discuss the impact of economic cuts upon organizational norms of the foodbank, and the intersection with the provision of charity support and personal relationships between the staff, volunteers and visitors.

Design/methodology/approach

This article analyses pervasiveness of neoliberalism on a foodbank and the impact this has on organizational norms and relationships found within the organization. It integrates themes of structural violence, neoliberal discourse in the charity sector, notions of (un)deservingness and appropriate of time.

Findings

Our research finds how a hostile environment transpires in a third-sector organization under increased economic and bureaucratic pressures and from this, organizational rules emerge that ignore the lived experiences of the people it serves. Herein, visitors must learn the organization's norms and garner relationships to be able to navigate the organization to successfully access essential resources.

Originality/value

The findings in this article will be of interest to academics researching poverty and organizational norms, professionals in the charity-sector and policy makers. Rules originating from economic and bureaucratic pressures can establish barriers to accessing essential material resources. It informs the pressures felt in balancing access to support services with personal timetables, and the need to include visitors' voices in establishing norms.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Kayleigh Garthwaite

The purpose of this paper is to explore both volunteer and ethnographer in a Trussell Trust foodbank in Stockton-on-Tees, North East England during a period of welfare…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore both volunteer and ethnographer in a Trussell Trust foodbank in Stockton-on-Tees, North East England during a period of welfare reform and austerity. It shows how ethnographic researchers can develop a more effective qualitative understanding of foodbank use through volunteering.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodological design was ethnographic both in terms of data collection and analysis. Volunteering and participant observation began in November 2013 and is ongoing. The data presented are derived from field notes of participant observations.

Findings

Tensions are present when considering how best to write up ethnographic research when the researcher adopts a “volunteer ethnographer” role. The negotiation of relationships, practices, and emotions requires the researcher to appreciate the complex and “politicized” discourse surrounding foodbank use in order to report how the foodbank operates in an objective yet truly reflective way.

Originality/value

There is an expanding research interest in the growth of foodbanks. This paper offers unique insights into the value and tensions of adopting the dual role of “volunteer ethnographer” when researching foodbank use in the UK.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Health and Illness in the Neoliberal Era in Europe
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-119-3

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Article
Publication date: 10 October 2017

Jon Warren

The purpose of this paper is to argue that the application of social policy in the North East of England is often characterised by tension and conflict. The agencies and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to argue that the application of social policy in the North East of England is often characterised by tension and conflict. The agencies and professionals charged with implementation of Westminster driven policies constantly seek to deploy their knowledge of local conditions in order to make them both practical and palatable.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines the region via established literature from history, geography, sociology and social policy. The paper gives illustrations via empirical work which has evaluated initiatives to improve the health of long term health-related benefit recipients and to sustain individuals in employment in the region.

Findings

Central to the paper’s argument is the notion of “biographies of place”. The core of this idea is that places have biographies in the same way as individuals and possess specific identities. These biographies have been shaped by the intersections between environment, history, culture and economic and social policy. The paper identifies the region’s economic development, subsequent decline and the alliance of labour politics and industrial employers around a common consensus that sought economic prosperity and social progress via a vision of “modernisation” as a key component of this biography.

Originality/value

The paper argues that an appreciation of these spatial biographies can result in innovative and more effective social policy interventions with the potential to address issues that affect entire localities.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 11-12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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