An Exploration Through Affect of Two Faith-Based Foodbanks in Bristol

Research output: Thesis (awarded by external institution)Master's Thesis

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This research considers two faith-based foodbanks in Bristol through the concept of affect. Research in the social sciences into foodbanks has largely focussed upon their relationship to the state and role in welfare provision. This dissertation approaches foodbanks through the geography of religion to consider directly the faith element of faith-based organisations. I investigate the characterisation of the foodbanks, the role of Christian faith in their provision, and the possibility of the foodbanks as an example of post-secularisation; an overlap between
religious and secular spaces. In this way the foodbanks are explored as demonstrations of the impact of faith beyond sacred spaces which is a research gap in the geography of religion. An affective methodology utilises affect, affective capacities and affective atmospheres to explore the individual and collective experiences at the foodbanks by volunteers and clients. Affect is understood through Deleuze's (1988) conception of the capacity of bodies to affect and be affected, and affective atmospheres are taken through Anderson (2014) to examine collective experience. I become a research participant myself by volunteering at both foodbanks and challenge my own Christian faith. Throughout the research process public relevance and dissemination is an important feature, meeting Kong (2011) and Olsen et al. (2013)'s call for the geography of religion. From this methodological approach, the analysis is centred around the affective capacities and motivations for people's involvement at the foodbanks, and secondly the affective atmosphere at the foodbanks. I conclude that an affective approach is advantageous for exploring religion as it goes beyond representation at the foodbanks to show that they are about more than food and infused with a Christian ethos. The foodbanks are therefore an example of post-secularisation, showing the impact of faith beyond sacred spaces to play a role even for those without faith.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Science
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bristol
Award date1 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • foodbanks
  • Bristol
  • faith
  • food poverty
  • religion


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