The article represents panhandling as a dynamic undertaking that requires conscious actions and purposeful modifications of self, performances, and emotions to gain passers-by’s attention and interest (Lankenau, 1999). Among the issues discussed are panhandlers’ problems, primarily the nonperson treatment, and how panhandlers overcome this form of treatment. The actions have been symbolized to represent a form of drama.
Passers-by use a variety of ploys to avoid establishing eye contact with the panhandler, therefore, making them appear like an inanimate object. According to Lankenau (1999), such tricks may range from quickening their pace to averting their eyes or even increasing their headphones’ volume. It may be due to the dirty-looking nature of the panhandler or even poverty, commonly associated with crime, hence the constant desire to stay away from such people. Following such inhumane treatment, panhandlers have devised ways to counter them. The repertoires are enacted in a drama-like manner to capture attention by exploiting emotions such as compassion and distress. It may be achieved by telling a story of their misfortunes, intimidating the pedestrian, or even flattering them with friendly greetings and entertaining them with funny jokes.
The fact that panhandling can be a dramaturgical routine drew my interest. Panhandlers have become very creative, led by the desperate desire to get what they want from reluctant others. Even more surprising is the nonperson treatment of panhandlers because they are economically disadvantaged.
I do not entirely agree with the nonperson treatment of panhandlers. Despite their current predicaments, they are human after all. Also, their strategies of exploiting the emotions of pedestrians are not very pleasing to the eye. However, I agree with the strategy of providing entertainment to pedestrians to get some money in return.
Lankenau, S. E. (1999). Panhandling repertoires and routines for overcoming the nonperson treatment. Deviant behavior, 20(2), 183-206.