Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Organizing for Social Change: Grassroots Efforts to Reduce Food Insecurity
by Rose, Lindsey M., Ph.D., Ohio University, 2012, 240; 10631239
Abstract (Summary)

The number of people living in poverty in the United States is the largest it has ever been in the 51 years during which poverty estimates have been published (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2010). One area especially plagued with poverty is the Appalachian region of Southeastern Ohio. Despite the existence of government assistance programs, families are experiencing food insecurity and turning to local charitable organizations which are struggling to keep up with demand (see Curry, 2010). In response, a number of organizations have tried to address food insecurity using alternative ways of organizing; this research examines these attempts. It offers unique contributions to health and organizational communication scholarship.

I employed interpretive research methods to explore how one community organization, the Community Food Initiatives (CFI), mobilizes people and resources to address food insecurity. Specifically, I engaged in participant-observations, in-depth interviews, and discourse analysis. The constant comparative method was used to identify patterned regularities in the data (e.g., interview transcripts, fieldnotes, and documents).

Results offer a description of the systemic and regulatory issues with our current food system, followed by highlighting the ways in which CFI programming mobilizes the community to inspire social change. Next, I discuss the importance of establishing a relationship with your food, arguing for the value of connection to the earth and food systems. Finally, I advance the claim that CFI demands ethical revaluation of caring, work, and community engagement. I close with theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and directions for future research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Babrow, Austin S.
Commitee: Babrow, Austin S., Bute, Jennifer, Harter, Lynn, Hutchinson, Jaylynne, Rawlins, William
School: Ohio University
Department: Communication Studies (Communication)
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work, Communication
Keywords: Community, Food insecurity, Health communication, Organizational communication
Publication Number: 10631239
ISBN: 978-0-355-01513-3
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