Panhandling as a Deviant Activity Term Paper

Pages: 2 (734 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Sociology

Panhandling as a Deviant Activity

From a humanist perspective, it is difficult to define panhandling as deviant behavior. After all, panhandlers are presumably people who lack the skills or resources to provide themselves with the basics in life, such as food, shelter, and water, without asking their fellow citizens for some type of support and aide. While there are agencies established to help the homeless, the fact is that the need is greater than the available help.

Furthermore, there are people and organizations who wish to help the homeless, but are unable to do so because they lack the appropriate resources. Perhaps most important is the fact that many of those who panhandle suffer from severe mental, emotional, and physical impairments, which prevent them from accessing traditional sources of help. However, the largest cause of homelessness is a combination of rising rent and falling economic opportunity, which means that many of the homeless are simply impoverished people with no alternative. (National Coalition for the Homeless). The result is that denying some people the right to panhandle can literally equate to denying those people the very things that they need to survive.

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Furthermore, there are powerful legal arguments suggesting that panhandling should not be considered deviant behavior. For example, "anti-panhandling laws have been ruled unconstitutional in some instances." (National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, 2002). Although economic status is not considered a protected class on the same level as race or religion, there are constitutional concerns about discriminating against people based on social class. Many anti-panhandling statutes attempt to do just that. For example:

TOPIC: Term Paper on Panhandling as a Deviant Activity From a Assignment

Las Vegas outlawed giving food to even a single indigent in any city park. The law defines an indigent as a person who appears "to be entitled to apply for or receive" government assistance. "It's revoltingly immoral. It literally enforces a class regime by defining criminal behavior based on income," says Lee Rowland, a public advocate with the ACLU of Nevada, which filed suit in August against the Vegas feeding ban. (Philips, 2006).

Although there are several cogent arguments against defining panhandling as deviant behavior, the stark reality of many panhandling situations makes it clear that, even if the panhandling itself is not… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Panhandling as a Deviant Activity" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Panhandling as a Deviant Activity.  (2007, February 12).  Retrieved September 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Panhandling as a Deviant Activity."  12 February 2007.  Web.  26 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Panhandling as a Deviant Activity."  February 12, 2007.  Accessed September 26, 2021.