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Home / Regular Issue / JSSH Vol. 30 (3) Sep. 2022 / JSSH-8467-2021


The Dramaturgy Communication of Beggars in an Indonesian Market

Irta Sulastri, Sulaeman Sulaeman, Uky Firmasyah Rahman Hakim, Zakirman, Ghina Novarisa and M. Ridwan

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 30, Issue 3, September 2022


Keywords: Backstage beggars, dramaturgy communication, front stage

Published on: 6 September 2022

In Padangsidempuan, Indonesia, the Sangkumpal Bonang market is a prominent place for individuals begging. A beggar is a person who earns money in public in various ways in the hopes of receiving charity from others and who engages in activities by exploiting physical impairments to make others feel sorry for them. In addition, some beggars deliberately create physical disabilities and poverty that lead to feelings of compassion from others. However, these beggars’ lives are not as poor as it seems; they live decent and luxurious life. The research focuses on how persons who engage in begging activities manage their front stage, backstage, and impressions. Through a study of dramaturgy, this study employs a qualitative methodology. The results demonstrate that beggars verbally managed impressions by saying, “have mercy, sir, madam.” Using bowls as a symbol of asking, beggars with unclean clothes, sorrowful faces, and sluggish movements remove their hands. Their onstage image takes advantage of physical handicaps, pretending to be crippled, and living an impoverished and nomadic existence to elicit sympathy. It contrasts with a figure in the backstage appearance who is in good physical condition, goes about her daily activities, dresses well, smiles, lives in luxury, and has good social contacts with her family and society.

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