Begging questions: Street-level economic activity and social by Hartley Dean

By Hartley Dean

Begging is generally condemned, yet little understood. it really is more and more obvious, but politically arguable. even though begging is associated with problems with road homelessness, psychological health and wellbeing, and social exclusion, this e-book makes a speciality of begging as a particular type of marginalized monetary job. It appears to be like at: the importance of face-to-face touch among beggars and passers-by; the preoccupation with the class of beggars; the stigma linked to begging and decisions required by means of the passer-by; and where of begging within the spectrum of casual fiscal task. The booklet additionally takes under consideration the voices of beggars themselves.

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Additional resources for Begging questions: Street-level economic activity and social policy failure

Sample text

There are eight types of beggar to whom it is recommended that the reader should refuse to give under any circumstances – sometimes with a 32 Why begging offends strong rebuff. The recommendation for ‘Klenckners’ who sit at church doors with broken legs or missing limbs, claiming to have been imprisoned by heathens or to have had their limbs chopped off in battle, is ‘to give them a kick in their hind parts’. Sexual behaviour is also a matter for the donor’s consideration, since Klenckners, Luther claims, have the best looking women.

Rufinus, writing in the 12th century, cited St Ambrose to argue that it was a person’s duty “to love first God, then his parents, then his children, then those of his own household and finally strangers” (Tierney, 1958/59). There has consistently been a view about a hierachy of responsibility for those who experience need. The decision as to who is most worthy of help has occupied minds from 12th-century canonists to Victorian philanthropists to contemporary politicians and journalists. History may show that it was only in the early post-Second World War period in Britain that this moral dilemma was briefly removed from individuals.

The beggar is almost an emblem of this contradiction. Fragile citizenship and fearsome strangers Begging is both a timeless phenomenon and a new moral issue. The purpose of this chapter has been to provide the beginnings of a theoretical framework within which to understand contemporary begging in Western societies. Begging is an informal economic activity which occurs in the context (whether in spite of or because of) the welfare state. Whatever begging may have symbolised in the past, its present significance is inseparable from contemporary issues concerning the scope of citizenship.

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