Nothing about us without us is for us? Examining the transformative potential of public engagement in politics of (in)justice
How can those with experiences of food insecurity play a meaningful part in work to tackle it? This project will explore the politics and potential of new governance mechanisms seeking to empower people at the margins. It is an opportunity to work alongside two leading UK charities as they support local alliances acting on food poverty.
There is growing recognition among academics, politicians and activists of the need for coordinated action between people experiencing food poverty and the multiple organisations, networks and campaigning bodies responding to household food insecurity.
Forms of participation and collaboration can often fail to fully engage with those ‘living at the margins’ so (re)produce new elites and exclude alternative discourses. However, engaging with people experiencing food insecurity – often termed ‘experts by experience’ – comes with a number of ethical and practical difficulties.
To address these challenges, this project aims to understand the politics of creating new governance mechanisms that empower ‘experts by experience’, and focuses on third sector networks engaging marginalised groups. Research questions include:
- How, and through what mechanisms, can different stakeholders enact political/participative/productive justice?
- What is the capacity of ‘experts by experience’ to contribute to transformative politics?
- What power does lived experience of injustice have within policy making?
These questions will be interrogated within the context of networks tackling food insecurity, generating learning for social action on other forms of injustice similarly seeking to engage those with lived experience (such as homelessness).
You will work closely with local food poverty alliances to interrogate the potential of networks to lever local and systemic change in relation to food insecurity, and the ambivalent politics of working across lines of social difference and the contested meaning of ‘expertise’.
The PhD project extends geographic scholarship on food politics by examining the possibilities of, and barriers to, more participatory spaces of engagement. Investigating the ethical and practical dilemmas of engaging ‘experts by experience’ within civic action and anti-poverty politics will contribute to participatory geographies.
The project will provide theoretical and practitioner-relevant insights into what strategies, structures, and scales of mobilisation are effective in different communities. There will be opportunities to research and share findings directly with ‘experts by experience’, national and local alliances and organisations.
The project will partner with Sustain and Church Action on Poverty and involve their Food Power network of food poverty alliances, with a particular focus on programme activity involving experts by experience. You will be able to spend time with programme staff, local alliances and attend programme events.
This is an exciting collaborative opportunity between academia and third sector partners and the project will be of interest to the wider food and social justice sectors.
This is an exciting collaborative opportunity between academia and third sector partners and the project will be of interest to the wider food and social justice sectors. The first supervisor will be Dr Andrew Williams firstname.lastname@example.org
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