More Than Bread: Ethnography of a Soup Kitchen

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9780817303976: More Than Bread: Ethnography of a Soup Kitchen
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More Than Bread examines life in the dining room of the Tabernacle Soup Kitchen, located in Middle City in a New England state. What happens when one hundred guests, which include single mothers, drug addicts, alcoholics, the mentally ill, and the chronically unemployed, representing diverse age groups and ethnicities, come together in the dining room for several hours each day? Irene Glasser challenges the popular assumption that soup kitchens function primarily to provide food for the hungry by refocusing our attention on the social aspects of the dining room. The soup kitchen offers a model of a de-professionalized, nonclinical, nurturing setting that is in contrast to the traditional human services agency.

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Review:

“A major contribution of the study is that it presents a clear picture of just who eats at—and hangs around—a particular soup kitchen in a relatively small New England town. This is important. Who the guests are in social terms, what they do at the soup kitchen, and what comprises the social and economic context of their lives are all significant dimensions of the poverty fringe that are most often ignored.”

—Contemporary Sociology



“[M]easured, careful, well written, and deeply informative, More Than Bread is essential reading for anyone interested in poverty and hunger in the United States. It would make an excellent text in courses dealing with these issues because of its careful research, its focus, its clear discussion of social science methods, and its deeply moving portrayal of troubled people struggling to survive in a world that offers little help.”

—Food and Foodways



“This is a lovely piece of work. The book is well-organized, clearly written, and worthwhile reading. It would be a good text for courses in urban studies or social work, and it merits reading by anyone who values good ethnography.”

—Communicator

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Glasser, Irene
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