The Finnish Breadline : Stigmatisation and the Social Power Struggle of Space

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Title: The Finnish Breadline : Stigmatisation and the Social Power Struggle of Space
Author: Haapanen, Sara Anne
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Geosciences and Geography
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2017
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: This thesis calls to question what impact the public nature of the Finnish breadline has on the levels of stigmatisation, in combination with the socio and spatial impacts. The effects are concerned predominately with those that use the breadline, but also the general public and those that provide the aid. Areas studied looked at how those using the food aid felt they were perceived by people around them and how it affected behaviour and emotions. Did it have any effect on the local social relations and class and how those with perceived higher status acted in return? Finally how did the queue directly impact the area? The breadline studied was in Kallio, Eastern Helsinki; a mixed area known for being a traditional working class area with a reputation for being slightly rough, but also a trend setting area with low level gentrification. This and other breadlines have been a focus of media interest, generally concerned with how so many people are being forced to turn to it for help in spite of the reputation of solid welfare state. The lines involve a long wait, and hence become very public affairs due to often being in busy, town areas. In comparison the British system of food charity is a more private affair. Provisions are made through the use of food banks with no large queues, which removes the element of public view; would those in need of food aid find this a more acceptable method for help? The main form of research was through the process of immersive observation and observations combined with the use of a small-scale questionnaire. A thematic analysis revealed several common themes and methods with which users of food aid were able to utilise in order to help deal with some of the stigmatisations and their created societal class. The results led to a conclusion that the use of public space is problematic in terms of welfare aid. Not only does it does it further increase stigmatisation of the people in the line and how they deal with it, but also it directly effects the area. There is further evidence to indicate there is a power struggle for 'ownership' of the area between the general public, those using the breadline but also those that provide it. The area of study has become a home for social friction. In conclusion there are good grounds and supportive evidence, both in practise and from breadline user preference, to favour a different practise of food aid.
Discipline: Geography

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