Onderwerp scriptie

Food banks in the media: a blessing or a curse?

This research proposal is about (a) the way in which different parties, stake holders and other voices in the public sphere speak about and frame the phenomenon of the ‘food bank’ in the media, and asks the question (b) whether that attracted and/or steered the attention of the political parties and/or institutions that have access to arenas of political decision-making.

There is a quit strongly accepted assumption in the British (and American/Canadian) academic world that the media have praised the food bank and its charity work for those in need (by providing food), but that they, by doing that, at the same have created an excuse for established political parties not to pay the needed attention for the problem of food poverty. The media have contributed to de-politicizing the food poverty problem in society by framing it as an issue of charity.

It is important to find out whether this de-politicizing thesis can stand up to critical investigation. As stated it has at least two aspects (b+c) that have to be examined.

  • What does the de-politicizing thesis actually mean and has it been subjected to empirical investigation (in UK, US or Canada
  • What is the frequency of food banks being mentioned in Dutch media and how are they framed?
  • What is the possible relation between the mentioning of food banks in the media and the way the issue is framed, on the one hand, and the debate and decision making processes in the formal political system as such?

For this research the student has to

  • get familiar with the literature on the ‘mediatisation of politics’, and on ‘priming, framing and agenda-setting’;
  • study and learn the needed research methods and methodology.


Wells & Caraher, UK print media coverage of the food bank phenomenon: from food welfare to food charity? British Food Journal, 2014, Vol. 116, Issue 9.