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Real beggars? Life history interviews

posted Jun 26, 2020, 10:02 AM by Sara D. Topciu   [ updated Jun 26, 2020, 10:06 AM ]
Ákos Tárkányi1
Journal of Social Research & Policy, Volume: 9, Issue: 2, Online First
Date: December 2018
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)

Abstract: Life history interviews with beggars were made at Pázmány Péter Catholic University (Pázmány Péter Katolikus Egyetem, PPKE) in Budapest in 2014. Our two suppositions were that the bulk of beggars collect money for themselves and not for some mafia and they do this because they are really needy. We have conducted a dozen full interviews and about another dozen partial interviews. We made about 30 unsuccessful attempts besides these. The texts of these interviews (at least those of the full interviews) were logical, credible and realistic, so we can rightly assume that our interviewees were honest and they spoke about their real-life situations. We cannot find but one case of a beggar collecting money for a „beggar mafia”. And all claimed that they collected money only for themselves. Begging seemed to be essential for their subsistence. Our research showed at least that there are a lot of really needy, real beggars who do not work for a beggars’ mafia. They represent different types, but one can sum up some common factors: the majority of them are elderly and in a bad health status and their family is usually either extremely poor or has fallen apart, which also contributes to the situation that forces them to beg.

Keywords: Life History Interviews; Beggars; Mafia; Homeless; Disability.


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Sara D. Topciu,
Jun 26, 2020, 10:02 AM