Apolitical food aid? Forms of ordinary politicization in social grocery stores in France and Belgium

By Tom Beurois

This article analyzes forms of ordinary politicization based on an ethnographic study carried out in two social grocery stores located in working-class neighborhoods in Molenbeek in Belgium and in Saint-Pierre-des-Corps in France. These two associations offer assistance through stores where food products are sold at a low price. These organizations rely on the work of employees, people “put into employment” under “integration” contracts, and volunteers—some of whom are or have been categorized as “beneficiaries” by these associations. First, the article shows that informal spaces constitute places of politicization of exchanges, and it analyzes the causes of this process. The people we met spoke of issues related to food and consumption, daily relations with administrations, and discrimination. Then, the article shows how implementing food aid can also engage ordinary principles of justice for those responsible for delivering it.

  • food aid
  • association
  • working-class neighborhood
  • volunteering
  • politicization
  • France
  • Belgium
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info