Being Productive: Working, Not Begging

  • Jessica Gerrard


Homeless street press is a precarious form of informal work, interconnected to other forms of labour undertaken in the supposedly ‘bare’ and ‘idle’ space of unemployment. In this chapter, Gerrard explores the effect and desire to be productive for sellers of homeless street press, and the tension between begging and working for both the sellers and organisations. Gerrard highlights two themes in particular: first the importance of mitigating the experience of unemployment with work and second the harsh effects of feeling judged as unproductive or idle. Here, Gerrard outlines how significant lines of distinction are made by sellers between themselves and beggars (or panhandlers), including between their current work as sellers and their previous experience as beggars.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Gerrard
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MelbourneMelbourne Graduate School of EducationMelbourneAustralia

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