HKS Authors

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Alice Goffman’s book, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, is one of those rare publications by a sociologist that creates an immediate splash both within and outside academia. The book focuses on the impact of pervasive policing and other aspects of the criminal justice system on individuals and families residing in the neighborhood of “6th Street,” a pseudonym for a poor black inner-city area of Philadelphia, which consists of five residential blocks and a wide commercial avenue. And what has drawn so much attention to the book is Goffman’s reporting of events based on what could only be described as total immersion in her fieldwork.


Wilson, William Julius. "The Travails of Urban Field Research." Review of On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, by Alice Goffman, and This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South, by Zandria F. Robinson. Contemporary Sociology, 43.6, November 2014: 824-828.