This thesis examines the situation of panhandlers in London: who they are, why they beg, how begging functions and how society intervenes for panhandlers. It also seeks solutions as to how they could be reintegrated into mainstream society.
Interviews were carried out in central London with eleven panhandlers and homeless people, and with three experts on homelessness. The majority of the people I met on the street of London were British-born white men. The result of interviews indicates that young homeless people have had weak relations with their parents or surrounding adults, who are supposed to teach them how to live decent lives. The middle-aged homeless men I met on the street did not appear to be actively searching for a job. Panhandlers mainly reply on closed and strong relations with other panhandlers and homeless people.
In order to seek solutions for panhandlers' reintegration, the thesis refers to Martha Nussbaum's “Capabilities Approach”, which suggests how to create an enabling environment to give opportunities for each individual, and to the “Social Capital theory” advanced by Robert Putnum, which proposes ways to empower individuals, as well as the overall society, through building relations between people. The “Social Capital theory” suggests that building “weak ties” would bring information and opportunities for people to get ahead.
The hypothesis posits that some meaningful engagement with society by panhandlers, no matter how small, is the first step for them to become self-sustaining and to reduce the number of panhandlers. By engaging meaningfully with society, panhandlers could build “weak ties”. For this to happen, panhandlers need to take action, with the help of an enabling environment.
|School:||The American University of Paris (France)|
|Source:||MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Life, London, Marginalized, Panhandlers, Reintegration, Socially|
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