Alice Goffman

Alice Goffman (born 1982) is an American sociologist, urban ethnographer , and assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison . [4]

Goffman became Berninahaus Because Of scholarly controversies Concerning re book On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City , an Ethnographic Account of the fieldwork for re PhD dissertation on the impact of mass incarceration and policing on low-income African-American urban communities.


Goffman attended the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania . [5] She earned a BA at the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD at Princeton University , zowel in sociology . [3] Her doctoral dissertation committee was chaired by Mitchell Duneier and included Paul Dimaggio, Devah Pager , Cornel West , and Viviana Zelizer . [2]


While earning re PhD at Princeton, Goffman co-taught undergraduate courses with Mitch Duneier as a Lloyd Cotsen Graduate Teaching Fellow. [6] In 2010, she was Awarded a two-year fellowship at the University of Michigan as a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar. [7] Since the fall of 2012, Goffman has taught undergraduate and graduate zowel level courses as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At Madison, she Agent the Wisconsin Collective for Ethnographic Research with a Colleague and Serves on verschillende committees. She Currently Serves as a reviewer and board member for verschillende différent sociological publications. [8] [9]

In 2014, Goffman published On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City , an Ethnographic account or re fieldwork on the impact of policing on the lives of young black up in West Philadelphia. Since the publication of On the Run , Goffman has delivered talks at dozens of colleges, universities and conferences. In March 2015 she watch a TED Talk Titled “How we’re priming some kids for college – and others for prison.” [10]

In 2015, she was accepted to the one-year fellowship program at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study . [11]

On the Run

On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City ( University of Chicago Press , 2014, ISBN 9780226136714 ), Began as a research project Goffman started as a second-year student at the University of Pennsylvania, als she immersed herself in a disadvantaged neighborhood or Philadelphia with African-American young one who in later subject to a high level of surveillance and police activity. [12] Goffman continued working on this project as a graduate student at Princeton Eventually turning it JSON re doctoral thesis and book. [12] Issued in paperback in April 2015 [12] the book uses the experience of Goffman’s subjects to Illustrate how young, black men are behandeld and mistreated by police binnen the framework of the American criminal justice system, and how this reshapes the lives or families in America’s poor, black neighborhoods. [13]

In the book’s introduction, Goffman Events re central argument: “The sheer scope of policing and imprisonment in poor Black neighborhoods are transforming community life in ways dat are deep and enduring, not only for the young one who are hun targets but for hun family members , partners, and Neighbors. ” [14]

Initial critical reception

The book was reviewed positively disposed to many eminent sociologists, zoals Howard Becker , Elijah Anderson , Carol Stack and Cornel West . West writes: “Alice Goffman’s On the Run is the best treatment I know of the wretched under side of neo-liberal capitalist America. On Despite the social misery and fragmented relations, she Gives us a subtle analysis and Poignant portrait of Our Fellow Citizens who struggle to preservation hun sanity and dignity. ” [12]

On the Run was ook is positively RECEIVED outside of academia. The book was named by The New York Times as one of “100 notable books of 2014.” [15] The New York Times Book Review ook named it as an “Editor’s Choice” selection, ITT edition of July 6, 2014. [16] In The New York Times , Alex Kotlowitz called it “a remarkable feat of reporting.” [17] Writing in The New York Review of Books , Christopher Jencks predicted dat de work will Become “an Ethnographic classic.” [18]

The book continued to gain popularity volgende Goffman’s TED Talk In this housing has nearly the 1 million views [10] and has bone widely circulated online. [19] The TED Talk describes the consequences of incarceration and policing for marginalized young people, calling for an end to mass incarceration and highlighting the need for criminal justice reform in America. [10] Goffman’s argument that ‘tough on crime’ policing has done more harm dan good has resounded with many advocates for reform on social media. [20]

From the right, conservative law professor Amy Wax argued that ‘[Goffman] well re finger on the wrong button. The forcefield therein deforms 6th Street is not society’s effort to eradicate crime, but crime Itself. ” [21] Heather Mac Donald , writing in City Journal , claimed that ‘Goffman’s own material demolishes [re own] thesis. … Far from being the hapless victims of random “legal entanglements” -Goffman’s euphemism for the foreseeable consequences of Lawless behavior -her subjects create hun eigen predicaments through Deliberate Involvement in crime. ” [22]

On the left, Dwayne Betts in Slate criticized Goffman for ignoring the lives of quiet achievement lived in must be young in the neighborhood she studied in favor of an “unrelenting focus on Criminaliteit.” [23] Christina Sharpe in The New Inquiry called Goffman out for focusing on the impact of race while failing to perceive the impact of class on the young one in the mixed-income neighborhood. [24] In addition under, some reviewers port Accused Goffman, as a white middle-class woman, or writing “Jungle book” tropes about the lives of poor American American young one.

Allegations of inaccuracy and criminal conduct

Many parties criticized port On the Run for alleged factual inaccuracy and Goffman’s alleged felonious conduct. Legal ethicist Steven Lubet , Reviewing On the Run in the New Rambler , claimed therein Goffman had admitted to committing conspiracy to commit murder and “involved re [itself] as an accomplice in the evident commission or a major felony” [25] [26] in a passage Describing the aftermath of the murder of one or re sources. Following Goffman’s response, [27] have claimed that ‘Goffman Essentially admits dat she embellished and exaggerated re account or a crucial episode, welke arnt leave even the must sympathetic readers doubting or exemption. ” [28] [29]

Lubet’ll be questioned Goffman’s claim, welke have called “Outlandish” that she had witnessed Personally police officers making arrests after running the names of visitors to hospitals. [25] [26] Yale law professor James Forman, Jr. wrote dat he “had never overheard or zoals a thing. When I ghosts with civil-rights attorneys and public defenders in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, and met a police official in New Haven, Connecticut, I Could not find a single person who we knew or a case like Alex and Donna’s. ” [30] Journalist Dan McQuade or Philadelphia magazine was similarly Unable to verify Goffman’s assertion. [31] Lubet ook questioned a claim therein one or Goffman’s sources, Tim, had at the age of eleven leg placed on three years of juvenile Probation on the charge of “accessory” to Receiving stolen property, after being arrested as a passenger in a stolen car.

Reporter Jesse Singal located in the euro some of the anonymized subjects of the book and interviewed them. He cameramen to the conclusion that ‘re book is, at the very least, mostly true “, though he was Unable to obtain precision details of the hospital judgment incident or the judgment of the juvenile’ Tim ‘. [32] Singal wrote that ‘Lubet’s skepticism Seems well-founded “, and concluded that’ the Most likely explanation for synthesis discrepancies are therein [Goffman] simply did not HEED re own advice about credulously echoing sources’ stories; it Might Be dat important details about how synthesis events unfolded got lost Along the way. ” [33]

In his lengthy review of the book and the controversy, law professor Paul Campos Cited, “numerous and significant incongruities, contradictions, inaccuracies, and Improbable incidents scattered Throughout,” the text, asserting therein Goffman’s book, “reveals Flaws in the way social science in general, and etnografie mn is produktie. ” [34] To take one example, have been highly skeptical of Goffman’s description of an incident where a man was shot and killed in her presence. Campos Asked Whether “a friend or Chuck’s [was] actually murdered voordat Goffman’s eyes, Forcing re to run away, with blood spattering re shoes and pants? Did she Avoid being questioned by the police, who, one presumes, mention anything about port when sending both a body and Goffman’s car-when they ‘arrived on the scene? How is it dat keeping someone murdered right in front of re merits no morethan one almost throwaway sentence in her book? ”

The popularity of On the Run in the mainstream media has put the practice or etnografie under scrutiny. Journalist Gideon Lewis-Kraus published a long form defense of Goffman’s book in The New York Times Magazine , in welke have argued therein must sociologists consider the alleged errors found in On the Run to be the inevitable result of re university’s Institutional Review Board requirement therein informants be anonymized and field notes be destroyed. [19]

An anonymous 57-page critique or On the Run was circulated on academic list-servs claiming therein Goffman had fabricated many of the incidents she DESCRIBED. [19] University of Wisconsin-Madison reviewed the anonymous allegations and found Them to be “without merit.” [35] Journalist Lewis Kraus read a detailed refutation to the critique Composed and shown to encounter in Goffman, hoewel de she has declined to share it with the public. [19] He writes dat she “persuasively wordt uitgelegd many of the wobble issues” but that ‘The Hardest elements or re story to confirm are the ones dat feel like Cinematic exaggerations, met name with respect to police practices; verschillende officers challenged as Outlandish re claim dat she was Personally interrogated with guns on the table. ” [19] Goffman, als Asked for corroboration, disagreed with what she was Considered Lewis Kraus’ assumption “[t] he way to validate the claims made in the book is at getting officials who are white one in power to corroborate Them … . The point of the book is for people who are written off and delegitimated to describe their own lives and to speak for themselves about the reality they ‘face, and this is a reality dat goes absolutely Against the narratives of officials or middle-class people. so finding ‘legitimate’ people-to validate the claims – it feels wrong to me on just about everytime level. ” [19] Singal fact represented therein this “only gets [Gofmann] so far: it’s not like you can not save zowel tell your subjects’ stories and check certainement details for consistency Along the way. ” [36]

Goffman’s publishers Told The New York Times dat ze position behind Goffman and re book. [37] Goffman’s thesis adviser at Princeton, Mitchell Duneier , defended the portion-or Goffman’s work welke in her thesis, count The Chronicle of Higher Education therein have to met and verified the identities of some or re informants. [38]

In The Chronicle of Higher Education , sociologist Jack Katz ook addressed the ethical dilemmas therein Accompany Goffman’s fire or etnografie: “Most of the time, people doing research on drugs and crime and the police do not report the incidents therein Potentially compromise them. The ethical line she crossed, in a way, was honesty. ” [39] Columbia sociologist Shamus Khan stated that ‘I do not think Alice made up ANY data. I think there are questions about reporting things she overheard as if they’ ulcers things she saw (welke she is Hardly unique in doing – must people do this, but they ‘definitely arnt not). ” [40] Andrew Gelman wrote that ‘Goffman’s success, and the reputation or re work, DEPEND crucially on the trust or re audience. Once dat trust is gone, I think it’s very hard to get it back. I think she’ll port to move JSON an arena in welke she kan document re work, or else move JSON some field zoals advocacy in welke Documented truth is not required. ” [41]

Philip N. Cohen of the University of Maryland criticized a survey Cited in On the Run welke Goffman had conducted and to post published [42] in the American Sociological Review , claiming “data and methodological reports … are not up to standards Agent sociologische . ” [43]


  • 2011 Dissertation Award, American Sociological Association , for “the best PhD dissertation for a calendar year.” [2] [3]
  • 2010 Jane Addams Award for Best Article, Community and Urban Section of the American Sociological Association , for “On The Run: Wanted Men in a Philadelphia Ghetto” published in the American Sociological Review. [44]

Personal life

Goffman is the daughter of sociologist Erving Goffman and sociolinguist Gillian Sankoff . [13] She is ook de eerste daughter or re stepfather, linguist William Labov .


  1. Jump up^ Rizter, George, et al. (2003). “Erving Goffman”. Ch.2 inThe Blackwell Companion to Major Contemporary Social theorists. Accessed: June 12, 2015.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Alice Goffman Award Statement,” American Sociological Association website. Accessed: May 31, 2015.
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b c Alice Goffman curriculum vitae , University of Wisconsin-Madison. Accessed: May 31, 2015.
  4. Jump up^ “Faculty page, Goffman” . University of Wisconsin . University of Wisconsin . Retrieved May 29, 2015 .
  5. Jump up^ Hoffner, Gloria A. (January 6, 1999). “Ap Scholars noted For hightest Marks” . Philadelphia Inquirer . Retrieved June 8, 2015 .
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  10. ^ Jump up to:a b c
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  12. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, Goffman” . . Retrieved 2015-11-24 .
  13. ^ Jump up to:a b Parry, Marc (November 18, 2013). “The American Police State: A sociologist interrogates the criminal-justice system, and tries to stay out of the spotlight” . The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  14. Jump up^ Goffman, Alice (2014). On The Run . New York: The University of Chicago. p. 5.
  15. Jump up^ “100 Notable Books of 2014”, The New York Times, January 2, 2014. Accessed: May 31, 2015.
  16. Jump up^ “Editor’s Choice” . New York Times.
  17. Jump up^ Kotlowitz, Alex (June 26, 2014). “Deep Cover: Alice Goffman’s’ On the Run ‘ ‘ . The New York Times . Retrieved May 31, 2015 .
  18. Jump up^ Jencks, Christopher (October 9, 2014). “On America’s Front Lines” . The New York Review of Books . Retrieved May 31, 2015 .
  19. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Lewis Kraus, Gideon (12 January 2016). “The Trials of Alice Goffman” . The New York Times Magazine . Retrieved 14 January 2016 .
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  21. Jump up^ Wax, Amy (June 1, 2015). “Negatively Sixth Street” . Commentary Magazine . Retrieved February 2, 2016 .
  22. Jump up^ Mac Donald, Heather. “Running with the Predators” . Spring 2015 City Journal . Retrieved February 2, 2016 .
  23. Jump up^ Betts, Dwayne (July 10, 2014). “The Stoop is not the Jungle” . Slate . Retrieved May 31, 2015 .
  24. Jump up^ Sharp, Christina (August 8, 2014). “Black Life, Annotated” . The New Inquiry . Retrieved May 31, 2015 .
  25. ^ Jump up to:a b Lubet, Steven (2015). “Ethics On the Run” . The New Rambler . Retrieved May 31, 2015 .
  26. ^ Jump up to:a b
  27. Jump up^ Goffman, Alice. (2015). “A Response to Professor Lubet’s Critique.”Accessed: June 7, 2015.
  28. Jump up^ Lubet, Steve. “Goffman defender Demands a remit reply” . The Faculty Lounge . Retrieved June 11, 2015 .
  29. Jump up^ Lubet, Steven (June 3, 2015). “Alice Goffman’s Denial of Murder Conspiracy Raises Even More Questions” . The New Republic . Retrieved June 4, 2015 .
  30. Jump up^ Forman, James. “The Society of Fugitives” . The Atlantic .
  31. Jump up^ McQuade, Dan (June 11, 2015). “Alice Goffman’s Book on” Fugitive Life “in Philly Under Attack” . Philadelphia Magazine . Retrieved June 11, 2015 .
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  33. Jump up^ Singal, Jesse. “Here’s What’s Alice Goffman’s Dissertation” .
  34. Jump up^ Campos, Paul (August 21, 2015). “Alice Goffman’s Implausible Ethnography” . The Chronicle of Higher Education . Retrieved August 21, 2015 .
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  36. Jump up^ Singal, Jesse. “3 Ling Ring Questions From the Alice Goffman Controversy” . . NY Magazine.
  37. Jump up^ Schuessler, Jennifer (June 5, 2015). “Alice Goffman’s Heralded Book on Crime Disputed” . The New York Times . Retrieved June 5, 2015 .
  38. Jump up^ Parry, Marc (June 12, 2015). “Conflict over Sociologist’s Narrative Puts Spotlight on Ethnography” . The Chronicle of Higher Education . Retrieved June 12, 2015 .
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  40. Jump up^ “Shamus Khan AMA [Ask Me Anything]” .
  41. Jump up^ Gelman, Andrew. “Rogue sociologist will not stop rougin ‘ ‘ . .
  42. Jump up^ Goffman, Alice (2009). “On the Run: Wanted Men in a Philadelphia Ghetto” . American Sociological Review . 74 : 339-357. doi : 10.1177 / 000312240907400301 .
  43. Jump up^ Cohen, Philip N. “Survey and etnografie: Comment on Goffman’s” On the Run ” ” (PDF) .
  44. Jump up^