Alice Goffman

Most Influential Person

American sociologist

Why Is Alice Goffman Influential?

Alice Goffman is a visiting assistant professor of sociology at Pomona College. She received a B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D from Princeton University. She also holds board member positions at a number of sociological publications.

She is best-known, and for some, infamously known, for her work, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, the product of an immersive research study she began as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. In this study, she observed a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia to examine the interactions between police and young, black men. Her work, clearly articulating the epidemic of incarceration and injustice faced by these communities, was initially highly acclaimed. Luminaries such as Cornel West and Howard Becker spoke up in praise for her work.

Criticism of her work has arisen from both valid and subjectively invalid contentions. Her intention as a white woman studying these phenomena has been questioned, but not as fiercely as her own admissions of criminal conduct undertaken while immersed in her subject, which, if exaggerated, are still damaging. In spite of all the initial accolades, the controversy surrounding her work has taken its toll on her reputation. She was denied a tenured faculty position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019.

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According to Wikipedia, Alice Goffman is an American sociologist, urban ethnographer, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Pomona College.Goffman is the author of On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City about over-policing, poverty, and incarceration experienced by young black men and their families in Philadelphia, a best-selling book for which she received widespread praise before it was widely criticized. She was denied tenure in 2019.

Alice Goffman's Published Works

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