International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 334

Full Length Research Paper

Empty hands and solitude: A grounded theory study of begging in Mashhad

Marzieh Rezazadeh
  • Marzieh Rezazadeh
  • Iranian Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research (ACECR), Mashhad-Iran.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 31 July 2022
  •  Accepted: 08 September 2022
  •  Published: 30 September 2022


The aim of this study is to identify the conditions which encourage some people to start begging using a grounded theory approach. As such, 23 beggars in a city called Mashhad were selected through theoretical sampling in 2020. The data collection techniques included participatory observation and in-depth interviews. Rejection by family and the weakening of social networks were the main conditions underlying the resort of individuals to begging indicating that beggars turn to panhandling as they know there is someone out there to help them. The duality of values in society, such as the culture of giving and the interdict of begging, which in turn has changed the style of panhandling, provides the ground work for growth of begging. The religious culture (Islam) in the community made it obligatory for every Muslim to give alms (In form of Zakat and sadaqa) and it does not in any way support begging; also, it is treated as a crime in the eye of the law. The research findings show that beggars resist the term begging!


Key words: Begging’s, religious culture, in-depth interviews, participatory observation, grounded theory.