Field Observation Reports
Encountering Strangers. Instructions will be presented in class, 11/7
Students will read and discuss in class brief excerpts from Goffman’s Stigma: The Management of Spoiled Identity that present the concepts of virtual social identity, actual social identity, prestige symbols, stigma symbols, and disidentifiers. Students will engage three “strangers” in a public place and, after introducing themselves and the assignment, pose a single question related to identity. A range of locations (and respective survey questions) will be suggested in response to student interests and unfolding events in NYC.
Negotiating Public Space.
Students will select a public space in New York City to observe, e.g., a sidewalk, a subway train, an office plaza, park, shopping mall, etc. It may be a location where nothing special is going on or it may be a place where an “event” (a rally, a marketing promotion, etc.) is taking place. Students will observe and report on the social norms observed in the space, how norms are negotiated or contested among individuals in the public space.