Ethnographic coats and tents
One way of understanding the relationship between Goffman and ethnography is to let Goffman explain it himself, in his own words. Although there is nothing in his books that is even close to an account of his views about ethnographic research, there is a tape of a lecture Goffman gave in the 1970s about fieldwork. More accurately, there is a rumour of a bootlegged tape of Goffman’s talk. The story has a Dylanesque feel to it. In England in the 1980s there were also rumours about who might possess a copy, and how copies of copies might be obtained. A talk by Goffman on ethnography was something too good to miss: careers might be built on its insights.