Skip to main content Skip to search

YU News

YU News

Dr. Shannon Lane Co-authors Article on Politics and Food

Cover of Journal and Policy Practice and ResearchDr. Shannon R. Lane, associate professor at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, partnered with Dr. Adelaide K. Sandler (Marist College) to investigate the nexus between politics and food in “Diverse Views of Political Empowerment Among Community College Students Who Receive Food Assistance Benefits” for Journal of Policy Practice and Research (June 24, 2021).

Here is the abstract:

This article examines political empowerment related to voting. The profession of social work requires practitioners to consider the social political roots of problems and to work to remediate them through micro and macro interventions, informed by political empowerment. Political empowerment involves having the power, ability, critical awareness, and sense of group identity to take action in order to create change in a political system. Findings from a qualitative study are presented to explore how recipients of food assistance benefits, enrolled in community college make decisions about voting. Data collected provides rich and contextual insight into how the decision to vote or not vote corresponds with an academic understanding of political empowerment and suggests that choosing not to vote may represent a type of political empowerment. Social work interventions related to voting for this population could include reducing stigma around government assistance, voter engagement, and work with systems to recognize the political power of those who are often left out of the process.

The results of the study, said Dr. Lane, “suggest that in order to address the lack of political power held by recipients of means-tested assistance, indirect interventions are needed to encourage recipients to gain understanding about the political process, think more critically about the importance of voting, acquire a sense of a group identity with other recipients, and consider voting decisions in strategic ways.” However, doing this is easier said that done given that “many recipients appear to internalize elite framing of poverty and governmental assistance, which may prohibit their ability to share a collective group identity with similar others and take action to protect their interests.”

On a personal note, Dr. Lane said that “I love this article; it was developed from a colleague’s dissertation work and was one of my favorite projects to work on.”

Those interested in reading the full article can download a PDF.