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Word Count: 2,011
I knew that I would encounter homelessness when I came to Berkeley I was expecting it because just about everybody I knew had something to say about the rumors theyd heard filter over from the West Coast Coming from New York however I figured Id seen it all and would be in control over whatever I would be up against Reality quickly hit me though as I began to familiarize myself with Berkeley and its main streets Id never seen anything quite like Telegraph Avenue and Peoples Park No matter how much poverty one has seen throughout the course of their lives its far more difficult to accept when it occurs in areas of high concentration Understanding the nature of homeless people asking for money and their interactions with people walking up and down a main street such as Telegraph Avenue is a difficult task This observation process which took place on Telegraph Avenue watching the homeless at work was difficult because of the wealth of information one could find in simply watching as one person asked another for money We looked for a number of signals in the interactions considering peoples ages how they reacted physically whether or not they communicated verbally their demeanor throughout the interaction and the importance of eye-contact We must also wrestle with the ambiguity of the power structure within the situation because it is not nearly as clear as it seems In the end we will try to decipher the true nature of these confrontations concluding by comparing the analysis of these situations to those found in the works of Erving Goffman and Robin Leidner INTERACTIONS The difficulty in defining the parameters of dominance within the interaction comes in understanding the disparity between the social status of the person being asked for money and the status of the individual begging for it the real science lies in determining how little that difference
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