Academic Commons

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.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Klotz, Christine - Thesis.pdf Klotz, Christine - Thesis.pdf application/pdf 862 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Braun, Rainer
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
June 26, 2018
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.