UCL European Institute


Book launch: Families and Food in Hard Times

09 June 2021, 1:00 pm–2:15 pm

Book launch: Families and Food in Hard Times

Families and Food in Hard Times will be published on 24 May 2021 by UCL Press.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Avery Anapol

This event has passed, but you can watch the recording on our YouTube channel or below. 

Join us for a panel event to celebrate the publication of Families and Food in Hard Times, a new volume from UCL Press by Rebecca O'Connell and Julia Brannen (Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education).


  • Baroness Ruth Lister of Burtersett, CBE, FBA, FAcSS, Emerita Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University, author of Poverty (Polity, 2nd ed, 2021), Hon President CPAG and co-chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty
  • Dr Rebecca O’Connell, Reader in the Sociology of Food and Families. Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education
  • Julia Brannen, Emerita Professor of Sociology of the Family, Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • Dr Vasco Ramos, Research Fellow, Instituto de Ciências Sociais, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
  • Dr Silje Skuland, Senior Researcher, Consumption Research Norway, Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
  • Imogen Richmond-Bishop, Right to Food Coordinator at Sustain – the Alliance for Better Food and Farming and Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity at the London School of Economics

Chair: Claudia Sternberg, UCL European Institute

About the book: Food is fundamental to health and social participation, yet food poverty has increased in the global North. Adopting a realist ontology and taking a comparative case approach, Families and Food in Hard Times addresses the global problem of economic retrenchment and how those most affected are those with the least resources.

Based on research carried out with low-income families with children aged 11-15, this timely book examines food poverty in the UK, Portugal and Norway in the decade following the 2008 financial crisis. It examines the resources to which families have access in relation to public policies, local institutions and kinship and friendship networks, and how they intersect. Through ‘thick description’ of families’ everyday lives, it explores the ways in which low income impacts upon practices of household food provisioning, the types of formal and informal support on which families draw to get by, the provision and role of school meals in children’s lives, and the constraints upon families’ social participation involving food.

Providing extensive and intensive knowledge concerning the conditions and experiences of low-income parents as they endeavour to feed their families, as well as children’s perspectives of food and eating in the context of low income, the book also draws on the European social science literature on food and families to shed light on the causes and consequences of food poverty in austerity Europe.

Families and Food in Hard Times will be published by UCL Press on 24 May 2021. You can read more about their research on the UCL Europe Blog.


YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMgUyOJoLEs

EU logo