Falling through the net: An exploratory qualitative study of food poverty and food insecurity in Sweden

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete

Abstract: When thinking of food poverty, Sweden may not be the first country that comes to the forefront of your mind. Indeed it appears as a somewhat neglected field of study in a country that while maintaining a presentation as a social democratic welfare state, is experiencing a growth in the number of those not able to feed themselves. In examining this topic through a recognition framework, this study systematically reviews the available research on the subject that focuses on Sweden itself, revealing a dearth of available studies and data. The study then critically analyses the methods used to measure the levels of food poverty in Sweden, to try to establish if there is a consensus on the figure or a uniform way of comparing this internationally. There is not. It finally discusses the issue with a purposive sample of eleven social workers and charity workers who are engaged with supporting those in food poverty in some way. Their divergent experiences and roles were thematically analysed and point to a stratification of the welfare state, with many gaps and bureaucratic measures that lead to people falling through the proverbial net. Further research is indicated around how to more effectively measure the levels of food insecurity and an exploration of how stigma around this is created.

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