Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Other Degree Name/Area of Focus
Department or School/College
Department of Anthropology
Richard Sattler, Tony Ward
agency, anthropology, culture, Food, homeless, homelessness, political economy, poverty
University of Montana
Despite widespread undernutrition among the homeless, there has been little anthropological research on the experience of food insecurity in this population. Between 20 and 40 percent of the homeless population is undernourished and one third regularly miss meals (Gelberg 1995). This thesis addresses the significant problem of food insecurity in the homeless from a political economic perspective, analyzing how larger social structures influence the individual person. Fifteen residents at a shelter in Missoula, MT were interviewed about their dietary practices and experience of social service programs. The macro-social level influences the diet of the individual in two important ways: first, by creating the environment in which homelessness occurs, and second, by regulating the social measures which address food insecurity. These social measures which are designed primarily for the needs of the housed are insufficient to deal with the unique challenges of food insecurity. An inability to cook and store food limit how effectively homeless people can utilize these social programs. It is necessary for these programs to appropriately adjust their services for the homeless; however, to truly solve the problem of food insecurity, the reality of homelessness must end.
Semmens, Jacqueline Devereaux, "Another Day, Another Donut: Political Economy, Agency, and Food in a Montanan Homeless Shelter" (2012). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 147.
© Copyright 2012 Jacqueline Devereaux Semmens