Understanding lived experiences of food insecurity through a paraliminality lens

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This article examines lived experiences of food insecurity in the United Kingdom as a liminal phenomenon. Our research is set within the context of austerity measures, welfare reform and the precarity experienced by increasing numbers of individuals. Drawing on original qualitative data, we highlight diverse food insecurity experiences as transitional, oscillating between phases of everyday food access to requiring supplementary food, which are both empowering and reinforcing of food insecurity. We make three original contributions to existing research on food insecurity. First, we expand the scope of empirical research by conceptualising food insecurity as liminal. Second, we illuminate shared social processes and practices that intersect individual agency and structure, co-constructing people’s experiences of food insecurity. Third, we extend liminality theory by conceptualising paraliminality, a hybrid of liminal and liminoid phenomena that co-generates a persistent liminal state. Finally, we highlight policy implications that go beyond short-term emergency food access measures.

Bibliographic note

Not yet published as of 13/04/2021.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Feb 2021


  • austerity, food insecurity, food poverty, liminality, liminoid, paraliminality, Qualitative research, poverty