Concurrent Panel Session Two

Abstract Title

‘City’ and Its Criminal Mass: A Study on Migration-based Beggary

Start Date

6-4-2018 10:30 AM

End Date

6-4-2018 11:20 AM

Abstract

Louis Wirth from the Chicago school in his “Urbanism as a way of Life” back in 1938 expressed his hesitation on the transition to the urban way of life in the city. For him, the city was a major place for the breakdown of community values and the building of a society bereft of its traditional ethos. The city is to be thought as the epitome of leisure industry and recreation where there is no place of hand to mouth dirt jobs. Cities as the epitome of growth engines is what the future is expected out of. These geographical inequalities were meant to be met with creation of cities where the lateral imbalances were to be erased and hence creation of a flat space. It got popularised in Thomas Friedman’s 2005 bestseller, The World Is Flat. Cities were central to this imaginary as the locus of international finance and trade, new information technologies, globalised media, lifestyles and aesthetics. The process of capital accumulation by the process of creating a city-like area from the resources which are pertaining to be non-capitalist has a grave result. Unlike the Marxist end result where a large section of the population are then rendered as the reserve army of labour is not the case here, instead they form the dispossessed who are redundant at the same time inheriting their incapibilities again and again. Hence, the state does not wither away with globalisation but is reincarnated in a plethora of forms on different socio-spatial scales by constructing new territorial infrastructures and institutions that enable the expansion of capital accumulation. And this redundance is what the central theme of this paper is.

The study deals with the diverse array of factors in the propagation of beggary and its simultaneous criminalization. The State being a welfare-state with democratic rights guarantees its citizens to live a respectable life. The State has on the other hand created a set of draconian laws which ban beggary in India or any other such occupations which amounts to asking and dependency. The usage of words like dirty, diseased etc., not only propagate the view of the beggars as physical pestilence but also criminalization as another form of moral pestilence. These are certain pejoratives to keep them away from the so-called earners of private property. The very nature of beautification of the urban areas in the form of ‘disneyfication’ presents to us the real picture.

Compared to rural setting, urban population is facing an increasingly unequal income distribution. Poor immigrants due to large scale underemployment and technical unemployment tend to take up jobs which are economically ‘un-lucrative’. (Behura & Mohanty, 2005) Their concentration is mainly in the busy public spaces like railway stations, pilgrimage spots etc. Beggary can also be interpreted as a strategy to suppress the rights of the underprivileged and make them devoid of any class consciousness. (Davis, 2006).

“…vagrancy was to be perceived as a threat to capitalism…This was particularly true in the developing United States, where a version of the Protestant Work Ethic is intimately connected to the national mythos of equal opportunity and free-market meritocracy (cf. Weber, 1958).” (Ellickson, 1996)

This form of deviance or ‘otherness’ then finally gives way to what is called the so-called lawlessness and self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Apr 6th, 10:30 AM Apr 6th, 11:20 AM

‘City’ and Its Criminal Mass: A Study on Migration-based Beggary

Louis Wirth from the Chicago school in his “Urbanism as a way of Life” back in 1938 expressed his hesitation on the transition to the urban way of life in the city. For him, the city was a major place for the breakdown of community values and the building of a society bereft of its traditional ethos. The city is to be thought as the epitome of leisure industry and recreation where there is no place of hand to mouth dirt jobs. Cities as the epitome of growth engines is what the future is expected out of. These geographical inequalities were meant to be met with creation of cities where the lateral imbalances were to be erased and hence creation of a flat space. It got popularised in Thomas Friedman’s 2005 bestseller, The World Is Flat. Cities were central to this imaginary as the locus of international finance and trade, new information technologies, globalised media, lifestyles and aesthetics. The process of capital accumulation by the process of creating a city-like area from the resources which are pertaining to be non-capitalist has a grave result. Unlike the Marxist end result where a large section of the population are then rendered as the reserve army of labour is not the case here, instead they form the dispossessed who are redundant at the same time inheriting their incapibilities again and again. Hence, the state does not wither away with globalisation but is reincarnated in a plethora of forms on different socio-spatial scales by constructing new territorial infrastructures and institutions that enable the expansion of capital accumulation. And this redundance is what the central theme of this paper is.

The study deals with the diverse array of factors in the propagation of beggary and its simultaneous criminalization. The State being a welfare-state with democratic rights guarantees its citizens to live a respectable life. The State has on the other hand created a set of draconian laws which ban beggary in India or any other such occupations which amounts to asking and dependency. The usage of words like dirty, diseased etc., not only propagate the view of the beggars as physical pestilence but also criminalization as another form of moral pestilence. These are certain pejoratives to keep them away from the so-called earners of private property. The very nature of beautification of the urban areas in the form of ‘disneyfication’ presents to us the real picture.

Compared to rural setting, urban population is facing an increasingly unequal income distribution. Poor immigrants due to large scale underemployment and technical unemployment tend to take up jobs which are economically ‘un-lucrative’. (Behura & Mohanty, 2005) Their concentration is mainly in the busy public spaces like railway stations, pilgrimage spots etc. Beggary can also be interpreted as a strategy to suppress the rights of the underprivileged and make them devoid of any class consciousness. (Davis, 2006).

“…vagrancy was to be perceived as a threat to capitalism…This was particularly true in the developing United States, where a version of the Protestant Work Ethic is intimately connected to the national mythos of equal opportunity and free-market meritocracy (cf. Weber, 1958).” (Ellickson, 1996)

This form of deviance or ‘otherness’ then finally gives way to what is called the so-called lawlessness and self-fulfilling prophecy.