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A Romeo Club in a Donut Shop

  • Murphy, Scott Patrick
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2009
eScholarship - University of California
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This dissertation is an ethnography explaining how old White straight middle-classmen in quasi-suburbia work on a day-to-day basis to meet the demand of becomingvisible to themselves and others as "good men." While much of my nearly four yearsof fieldwork was conducted amongst a group of morning regulars at a corner donutshop, I also spent considerable hours with the morning regulars in other settings.We attended varied social events together - from birthday parties to garage sales tomemorial services. Within the constellation of privilege their social categorizationsaccord, I came to understand how these men grappled with the marginalizing forcesassociated with old age. In the absence of widespread, coercive cultural scripts outlining what constitutes "acceptable" manhood in old age, the morning regulars atthe donut shop have constructed their own conception of what constitutes "goodmanhood." As a moral identity for the morning regulars, to be known as a "goodman" means (1) to be seen by others as having overcome hardship in meritocraticways and hence having "earned" the right to the relative comfort their retirementaffords and (2) to be seen by others as engaging in everyday conduct that is morallyand ethically "right." For these men, a "good man" "keeps busy" and "helps out."

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