Friday, March 29, 2013

Voices of hunger: Interrogating inequality

The "Voices of Hunger" project, a narrative co-construction grounded in the CCA with the food insecure in Indiana, depicts the everyday struggles with the absence of food among the food insecure. At the time that the project was taking its roots, inequality in the US was on the rise, and there were a growing section of the middle class who had been "thrown to the streets."

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcom.12009/abstract

A theme that continued to reiterate through the stories of hunger was the uncertainty around it and the suddenness with which community members experienced it.

http://www.care-cca.com/about/cca-video-series/voices-of-hunger/

The transition from a life of plenty to a life of hunger was often unexpected and sudden.

It all happened overnight.

The two storey home; the car; the fenced back yard. The signs of middle class comfort that depicted the life a large majority of Americans were soon disappearing, and for most of the community members in our journey, had disappeared without much warning.

Families were on the streets because of their inability to pay the high mortgage loans. Homes were being foreclosed, and jobs were being downsized.

As we continued our in-depth interviews in the early parts of the project, we were struck by the sense "this could happen to any of us." Our vulnerability worked hand-in-hand with the vulnerability of the community members we worked with.

Through the interviews, we were also often reminded of how lucky we were, to afford food, to put food on the table.

Time and again, we were reminded through the stories that the economic downturn was hitting the middle classes, and there were no safety nets for most of the community members we were working with.

Amid these experiences, our co-constructions with the food insecure often highlighted the concept of dignity. That people who were experiencing food insecurity had dignity was seen by community members as being most fundamental to solving the problem of food insecurity. In driving this point home, the food insecure asked for empathy, a moment of connection, because the transition from having plenty to not having anything could happen to anyone.


 

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