Doormen by Peter Bearman
(Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries)

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Little fascinates New Yorkers more than doormen, who know far more about tenants than tenants know about them. Doormen know what their tenants eat, what kind of movies they watch, whom they spend time with, whether they drink too much, and whether they have kinky sex. But if doormen are unusually familiar with their tenants, they are also socially very distant. In Doormen, Peter Bearman untangles this unusual dynamic to reveal the many ways that tenants and doormen negotiate their complex relationship.

Combining observation, interviews, and survey information, Doormen provides a deep and enduring ethnography of the occupational role of doormen, the dynamics of the residential lobby, and the mundane features of highly consequential social exchanges between doormen and tenants. Here, Bearman explains why doormen find their jobs both boring and stressful, why tenants feel anxious about how much of a Christmas bonus their neighbors give, and how everyday transactions small and large affect tenants' professional and informal relationships with doormen.

In the daily life of the doorman resides the profound, and this book provides a brilliant account of how tenants and doormen interact within the complex world of the lobby.

About Peter Bearman

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Peter Bearman is chair of the Department of Sociology and director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia University.
Published January 30, 2009 by University of Chicago Press. 305 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Doormen

Project MUSE

In letting readers in on what doormen think about the residents of their buildings and why, readers learn about what is regarded as a proper tip, what doorman value about their residents and what they find disdainful, and what doormen think about the work ethic of people who sit behind desks rath...

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