At the Hartford Courant, Emory University Professor Benjamin Reiss discusses the fascinating story of how sleeping in public became taboo and how that taboo results in differential treatement of the disadvantaged. A snippet:
Writing in 1939, the sociologist Norbert Elias described sleeping — like other bodily functions such as evacuating waste — as an activity that Europeans of the 18th and 19th centuries decided must be undertaken in private in a “civilized” society. Historian Sasha Handley has recently shown that around this time, middle-class homes began to feature a novel architectural arrangement: the bedroom. Dozing in public increasingly became an affront to refined sensibilities, a reminder of the body’s basic functions that were supposed to be tidily managed behind closed doors.