Understanding The Mother nature of Homlessness

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I knew i would encounter homelessness when I reached Berkeley. I actually

was anticipating it, because just about every person I knew had something to say of

the gossips theyd observed filter above from the West Coast. Received from New York

however , I realized Id seen it all, and would be in control over whatsoever I

would be up against. Reality quickly hit me, although, as I began to familiarize

me with Berkeley and its primary streets. Identity never found anything really like

Telegraph Method and Lenders Park. Regardless of much low income one has seen

throughout the course of their lives, its a lot more difficult to accept when it

takes place in aspects of high concentration.

Understanding the characteristics of destitute people requesting money and the

interactions with people walking down and up a main avenue such as Telegraph

Avenue is known as a difficult task. This observation procedure, which came about on

Telegraph Avenue watching the destitute at work, was difficult as a result of

wealth of info one could locate in just watching jointly person asked

another for money. We viewed for a number of signals in the relationships

considering individuals ages, the way they reacted actually, whether or not they

conveyed verbally, their particular demeanor throughout the interaction, and the

importance of eye-contact. We must as well wrestle while using ambiguity from the power

structure within the situation, because it is not really nearly while clear since it seems.

In the end, we will attempt to decipher the true nature of these fights

concluding by simply comparing the analysis of the situations to people found in the

works of Erving Goffman and Robin Leidner.


The difficulty in defining the parameters of dominance in the

interaction comes in understanding the disparity between the social status of

the person getting asked for money and the position of the individual begging for

that, the real scientific research lies in deciding how tiny that difference actually

things. Socially, the respective status of each individual should be quite

clear. Anyone walking across the street is probably either employed or a

student. The stereotypical desolate person, however, may include alcohol

or perhaps drug concerns, may be struggling with schizophrenia, which is clearly certainly not

capable of functioning within the confines of mainstream contemporary society. Clearly

according to unsaid rules of your community, the employed person has a very much

higher interpersonal standing. In spite of these cultural differences, some of the

interaction is controlled by the panhandler. Their authority role begins with

the initiation with the interaction, when you are the one to cause the confrontation

the 2nd party- normally the one being called for change- is forced to react, if perhaps not to

reply, in some way. The initiation process itself differs quite a bit via

panhandler to panhandler and has a incredible impact when it comes to reinforcing the

notion of authority. For example , there were panhandlers we seen who were

not capable of singling out an individual person and therefore a new great deal

of difficulty starting or holding on to any communications, on the other hand

1 man all of us watched was particularly powerful simply because this individual went out of his

approach to single people in the completing crowds, he was loud enough to make also

the most seasoned person convert and was clearly in control of the connection.

Once control has been set up and the connection has started, it

is important to measure the response of the individual being asked for funds and

precisely what that response may suggest. Of nineteen communications we observed

only seven people made eye contact with the person requesting money. We found

it turned out often much easier for someone to talk about no in the event they did not need to appear the

person straight in the eyes. 1 common response was to check out the person

with no making eye-contact, and then act in response while turning away from the

panhandler. Many people did decide to communicate by speaking, often using the

phrase, My spouse and i dont have anything. In all likelihood, the majority of the seven

folks who uttered that phrase had at least a some funds, and the destitute

probably be aware that. Still, the phrase- whether an overall lie or maybe the gospel

truth- manages to hold a great deal of weight. Another micro-interaction we

found quite a bit of was your use of the entire body to talk certain perceptions

without the make use of words. There were people who looked up as soon as that they

noticed the homeless people and could actually confront their complete bodies to them

as they walked simply by, suggesting popularity, and there was others who have angled their particular

bodies so that their shoulder muscles provided a definite barrier, protecting the

person as they wandered silently simply by. Although I had fashioned expected grow older to be a

take into account the interactions- and it was in that panhandlers did not request children

intended for money-peoples era, and even the nature of their dress did not appear to have

virtually any clear effect on the communications. In truth, finding many particular patterns

in these interactions would require a lot more time put in in the field doing


One particular factor which I took detect of early on in the field research process

was your behavior of people wearing glasses and their reactions to the same

panhandlers. Your initial results, by which three away of three subjects wearing

sunglasses actually struck up conversations and appeared particularly at ease-

to the stage of fun in two instances- convinced me which it would be worth

doing even more research through the daylight hours. When I was about Telegraph

in daytime I sat down for a few minutes and watched simply for people using

sunglasses. 6 people passed a desolate man straight outside of Body fat Slice

Lasagna wearing sun glasses during the following ten a few minutes. Of those 6 individuals

two ignored the requests for change plus the other four acted friendly and

all-natural, looking immediately at them and reacting in a nice manner. In total

of the seven people I actually witnessed using sunglasses, seven of them chose to

respond to the beggar, a much higher percentage than in the total group.

Curiously enough, yet , not one of the sunglass wearers provided money.

If we look backside at the factors which characterize the nature of these

interactions, eye-contact would be very high on the list. The very fact that

sunglass wearers have an instant hurdle between themselves and those asking for

money the actual argument all the more reasonable that eye-contact has the

greatest influence on the connection. Its much easier to respond to somebody if

you dont have to look all of them in the eye, in fact , wearing glasses

automatically sets the propositioned individual in to the dominant position in the

discussion. The reality is that the information set may not be an entirely

accurate rendering of the genuine social group, its hard to believe that

over seventy-five percent from the entire Berkeley population would be inclined to

talk with panhandlers simply by putting on sunglasses. What the information collection

does advise is that, for a few people, shades lighten the tension in a

to some extent difficult exchange.


If we were to consider the work of Robin Leidner in the book Fast Food

Fast Speak, we would get similarities in the nature of some areas of

the interactions between the Telegraph confrontations plus the interactions

between customers and employees by McDonalds, indicating that the two interactions

are somewhat routinized. Anyone acquainted with Telegraph Avenue knows that, after

deciding to walk down the street, there is a extremely high chance that they may be

called for money. Reacting to this, many of us do almost everything in our capacity to

avoid Telegraph altogether. Those of us who never avoid it find that a planned

way of these relationships is often the very best method for dealing

with all of them. We may want to give modify, we may tend to smile and apologize

for not having anymore money, and may simply ignore the asks for. Still

there is a good chance that what ever we choose to complete, we start to prepare while

soon even as see a homeless person. Whenever we walk into B, Leidner

talks about, we must, to ensure the obtain to run easily, already have a

general concept of what we desire and how to order it. In both situations, the

conversation has been routinized, in that a particular routine, or set of activities

has been designed in order to manage a situation. However, expectations of

the employee plus the panhandler match directly into the program. If you were

might a B employee for any large bowl of pasta and a glass of wine beverage

they would not immediately have the ability to respond, their likely that the same

effect would take place if you gone up to a panhandler and asked them for money

challenging these to behave as you are expected to. While the mother nature of each of

these two routines may be pretty many, there is no question that there are

various similarities inherent in equally.


This kind of notion of the planned response, as well as the tendencies of a

panhandler tossing money onto the road, fit well into Erving Goffmans

talks in Asylums. Goffman talks both regarding secondary changes, which

this individual defines since ways in which the consumer stands apart from your role and the

self which were taken for granted intended for him by institution (Goffman, page 189)

and mortification, or getting stripped of ones personality kit. (Goffman, page 21).

By growing techniques in order to most quickly and painlessly interact to the

requirements for alter, we are in fact making the second adjustment, whenever we never

qualified ourselves to manage these circumstances, we would probably feel very ill

at ease with the situation rather than handle yourself well. Becoming put out around the

street is usually clearly quite difficult. How does 1 respond to instantly being exclusively

and forced to fend pertaining to oneself, devoid of money, shield, or food? This process

of developing a new life on the street, without the support of contemporary society, is very

close to what Goffman calls punition. Although the situations are very

different, one with too many wall surfaces, one with too few, you cannot find any denying the

sense of loss of personal felt in both cases. The prevention of punition is

one of the primary reasons for extra adjustments then when we look by one

particular panhandler, who, in an effort to maintain some final shreds of

dignity, would throw any kind of pennies he had been given away onto the sidewalk, we see

a clear adjustment produced. To this person, it wouldnt matter if he was presented ten

us dollars worth of pennies, because needing individuals pennies displayed the lowest

he could possibly reach


How much does any of this mean? What can we gain from taking a look at this

details? While not any great interpersonal upheaval will certainly occur because of this research

there is absolutely no question we at least have much more perspective as to the

nature of these interactions. Though I anticipated to find more patterns- to get

example, I had expected that older people would perhaps become more sympathetic- I

also had not expected to witness so many very clear interactions from the homeless

and methods accustomed to challenge the authority the panhandlers had gained. Actually

though there is no question that the homeless, through the initiation in the

interaction, control that element of the confrontation, its crucial to

realize that it’s the person who has been asked for the bucks who ultimately ends up with

control as it is their particular choice if to give apart any of their money.

Out of about forty folks who walked simply by at 1 point, just one of them offered a

panhandler any money, which represents a very clear design. Sadly, that

pattern, without a significant efforts on the part of regional and nationwide

government, wont change in the near future. We may under no circumstances cure the problems faced simply by

the destitute and we may well never have the ability to retrain each of our society to be more tolerant

but we could at least, hopefully, continue to take steps to that end.

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