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Theses Master's

Food Politics in the US: A Case Study of Civil Society Discourses around the Right to Food

Klotz, Christine

Food is fundamental to survival, and is also a basic human right. Notwithstanding, the politics of food distribution are steep in inequality both domestically and abroad. A nongovernmental response to food insecurity is charitable food banks. Today, they are on the front line of distributing food to food insecure population and subsequently occupy a vast degree of ideological, organizational and institutional influence over food security outcomes. Previous research has argued that while food banks have a sociopolitical platform to advocate for social reform, it might not actually be in their best interest to do so. From a long term perspective, it is proposed that the presence of food banks ultimately distracts from being able to amend the policy shortfalls involving socioeconomic rights protections. From a human rights perspective, this paper explores the extent to which charitable food organizations [1] utilize human rights frameworks in their organizational mission/value/purpose statements, [2] advocate for progressive social policy reform through their organization apparatus; and [3] whether food organizations of similar ideological backgrounds network with regard to rights orientation? To do so, I qualitatively code the mission statements of 52 food organizations in the US, using manifest content from their webpages applying one of the following three rights designations: no rights, limited rights and human rights. Then, I compare the extent to which charitable food organizations network with other charitable organizations to achieve their organizational mission based on these categories.

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Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Braun, Rainer
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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