Goffman's Appendix: A Methodological Note

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In her “Appendix: A Methodological Note,” Goffman addresses questions of method, consent, and how she “negotiated her privilege while conducting fieldwork.” Never fear: Goffman owns that “white privilege” and informs us that she had “more privilege than whiteness and wealth: my father was a prominent sociologist and fieldworker “and her mother and adopted father are also “professors and devoted fieldworkers.” She writes that wealth, education, the family business of ethnography “perhaps” “may have” given her “the confidence and the resources to embark on this research as an undergraduate.” And “perhaps my background, and the extra knowledge and confidence it gave me, also contributed to professors encouraging the work and devoting…show more content…
Goffman even suggests that the men’s outcast status adds to their allure. Still, the battle of the sexes rages. In a sad but quaint vestige of bourgeois mores, the women desire and expect sexual exclusivity, while the men show no interest in anything approaching monogamy. The resulting disharmony looms large in the fugitive dynamic, as jealous and rivalrous women wield their knowledge of men’s goings-on to gain romantic advantage, settle old scores, curry favor, and vie for primacy with mothers and sisters. The “father-go-round” of children creates a tangle of personal ties that renders women vulnerable to conflicting pressures from lawless men and the authorities. Goffman describes how girlfriends and baby-mamas holding coveted jobs in law enforcement are conscripted into the network of “support to the legally compromised” by using their positions to smuggle contraband and bend the rules. It doesn’t help that relations between the men and women are fraught with mistrust and secrecy, with fugitive men keeping female relatives and consorts at a distance or in the
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