Perception of Choice
What if you had a choice between living on the sidewalk or the formal economy? Many people in would choose the formal economy without second guessing themselves. Even if individuals were facing difficulties in the formal economy, they would never resort to living on the sidewalks and working because it becomes a burden when trying to be accepted in society. However, that is not the case for some individuals. Many people resort to the sidewalk life to escape from the current life that they live in. They feel a sense of urgency to find a direction in life by finding commonalties with those of similar backgrounds. Also, another reason why they feel that they should escape from the formal economy is because they feel unaccepted in their current society. In the book Sidewalk, written by Mitchell Duneier, he provides a study of sidewalk life in New York, which includes panhandlers, street vendors, and other workers on the streets. Duneier takes in account the different perspective of these employed individuals on the sidewalks. In this paper, I will show the reasons why many street vendors believe that it is a matter of choice to live on the sidewalk and the implications of perceiving it as a choice. A common perception that many people have is that everyone has a choice when it comes to living on the sidewalk. This is a misconception because many people were force to abandon their lives. Duneier states “in choosing to work on the street, Hakim had clearly made what would be radical, if not entirely incomprehensible, decision,” in order to show the irrationality of their choice (pg 23). Yet, through the eyes of the street vendors, this choice of lifestyle was chosen by the individuals themselves, even when it was considered irrational. These individuals hold onto the perception of choice using the same logic that “people whom society considers respectable who…[also] choose to sleep where their jobs are” such as small business owners that live...
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