Discursive discrimination and panhandling in Winnipeg newspapers
MacKinnon, Sarah G.
Panhandlers everywhere are a disenfranchised population. They lack the resources necessary to fulfill their basic needs and they encounter discrimination as they go about their daily business. While some people support panhandlers and advocate on their behalf, others believe that panhandlers are criminal, dangerous, illegitimately needy, lazy, morally lax individuals who are the agents of their own misfortune. This thesis uses qualitative analysis to examine how panhandlers are represented in Winnipeg newspapers. It explores what these representations mean in terms of a phenomenological orientation which assumes that we create the meaning of our world and those around us through social interaction. This thesis finds that panhandlers are predominantly represented in negative ways in Winnipeg newspapers but suggests that reading newspapers more critically, along with advocating for panhandlers, resisting anti-panhandling by-laws, and empowering panhandlers to represent themselves may improve panhandlers' status in Winnipeg.