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|Our daily bread: the role of soup kitchens in 21st century Adelaide
|Skinner, Victoria Louise
|School of Social Sciences
|The purpose of this thesis is to explore and examine the continued existence and evolution of soup kitchens in Australia. Soup kitchens exist as a sub-category of the non-government and not-for-profit emergency food sector. With the rise of neoliberalism the not-for-profit or ‘third’ sector has taken over many of the roles of traditional government welfare. As a consequence, the third sector has been forced to become more professional in an effort to secure government contracts. Third sector organisations have also shifted their focus towards the provision of longer-term assistance. Allied with this there have been moves towards providing assistance on a conditional basis, requiring active engagement on the part of recipients. Theoretically, soup kitchens do not fit well into contemporary welfare paradigms, as they provide immediate, short-term and unconditional assistance. Consequently, such services therefore appear to be the essence of what could be considered old-fashioned charity. This thesis explores the modern day soup kitchen from multiple perspectives, incorporating the views of coordinators, staff and volunteers, as well as attendees. The dissertation addresses the overarching research question: what is the role of soup kitchens in 21st century Australia? The thesis outlines the operation, place, role and structure of the modern soup kitchen, using South Australia as a model. In doing so, it provides a comprehensive definition of soup kitchens; something traditionally absent from the literature, with the meaning ascribed to such services taken for granted by those writing on soup kitchens. The scant literature around soup kitchens finds that they: • are run by charitable, not-for-profit or community-based organisations; • serve pre-prepared meals (either to be consumed on the premises or to be taken away); • provide food for free or for a nominal charge; and • are available to the general public. Each element of the definition of a soup kitchen distinguishes the services from other forms of charity, including other emergency food services that provide groceries (such as food pantries), or serve pre-prepared meals for a fee (including organisations such as Meals on Wheels). The definition, however, does not capture certain important attributes of soup kitchens. The formulation of a new, and more comprehensive, enunciation of what soup kitchens are, needs to be established in light of the field research. The new conceptualisation of the services more sharply emphasises the social and service linkage aspects of modern soup kitchens. Over the period of neoliberalisation in Australia, it is clear that soup kitchens have evolved into multi-faceted services, meeting a variety of needs within the community. They have moved away from an initial focus on feeding people to more complex concerns around nutrition; community and social interaction; and as a vehicle for linking attendees with further assistance. Modern soup kitchens offer a safe and easy way for volunteers to help in the community and interact with people they may otherwise actively avoid. Increasingly, higher demands are being placed on services, both in terms of government bureaucracy and through the (required) professionalization of the third sector. Soup kitchens nonetheless have been remarkably resilient in the face of bureaucratic change: a testament to their simple, replicable and broadly understood service model.
Faulkner, Deborah Robyn
|Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2017.
|This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/legals
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