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Bread of Life in Broken Britain

Foodbanks, Faith and Neoliberalism

Bread of Life in Broken Britain

Foodbanks, Faith and Neoliberalism

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334058960
Published: 30/04/2020

The return of Christian social service to the centre of British political life through the emergence of the foodbank movement has elicited a range of ecclesial responses. However, in their urgency and brevity these Church responses fail to systematically integrate political critique and social analysis, nor do they undertake a sustained integration of the recent gains in political theology with the realities of our current 'mixed economy of welfare'.

Charles Pemberton draws on interviews with foodbank users and volunteers to defend and advance a Christian vision of welfare beyond emergency food provision. He suggests that behind the day-to-day struggles of those using foodbanks there are wider much concerns about loneliness, marginalisation and the wholesale fragmentation of society.

Participation in Economies of Love

How are contemporary Christians embodying the best of their own food tradition? What will the future of Christian engagement with food involve? Listen to Charles Pemberton's talk at the Church Times Festival of Faith and Literature.

Acknowledgements vii 

Prologue ix 

Introduction 1

1. Food Bank Lives 22 

2. International Growth of Food Banks 42 

3. Food, Faith, Food Banks 63 

4. Coincidences of the Neoliberal and the Food Banks 82 

5. Political, Ecclesial and Personal Participation 107 

Conclusion 133

Notes 141 

Bibliography 181 

Index of Names and Subjects 193

Charles Roding Pemberton

Dr Charles Roding Pemberton is a lecturer in political theology at Durham University.

"Foodbanks have become a complex part of the social, cultural and political landscape of many nations over the last decade or so. There existence divides opinion as many Christians remain conflicted between their duty to serve the poor and the sense of collusion with a system that makes foodbanks necessary in the first place. It is in this context, therefore, that Charles Roding Pemberton has written an important book. Bread of Life in Broken Britain provides a carefully calibrated account of the political and economic terrain that has given rise to Foodbanks and provides constructive resources that will inform the theology and practice all those hoping that they can make a difference." -- Anthony Reddie, Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture, University of Oxford.