SHERRI CAVAN

VITA

B.A., UCLA, 1959 M.A., UCLA, 1961 Ph.D., UC Berkeley, l965

Professor of Sociology San Francisco State University (S.F., CA.,94132)

BOOKS

20th Century Gothic: AmericaÕs Nixon, Wigan Pier Press, l979

Hippies of the Redwood Forest, (unpublished ms.) l975

Hippies of the Haight, New Critics Press, l972

Liquor License: An Ethnography of Bar Behavior, Aldine Co., l966

ARTICLES

ÒBecoming an Ethnographer,Ó in R. Wallace and K. Meadow-Orlans, Gender and the Academic Experience:Berkeley Women Sociologists: U. Nebraska Press, 1993

ÒRichard Nixon and the Idea of Rehabilitation,Ó, in C. Friedman and W. Levenstrosser, Richard Nixon and the Legacy of Watergate, Greenwood Press, l992

ÒSeeing Social Structure in a Rural Setting,Ó Urban Life and Culture, l974

ÒThe Class Structure of Hippie Society,Ó Urban Life and Culture, l972

ÒEtiquette of Youth,Ó in G.Stone and H.Farberman, Symbolic Interaction, Xerox Corporation, l970

ÒAcademics: The Aristocratic Workers,Ó Journal of the Sociology of Education, l969

ÒTalking About Sex by Not Talking About Sex,Ó Etc. l968

ÒInteraction in Home Territories,Ó Berkeley Journal of Sociology, l963

RECENT PAPERS

ÒThe Great Graffiti Wars of the Late 20th Century,Ó presentat at the Pacific Sociological Association, San Franciscio, 1994

ÒAnimal Experimentation: The Tragic Legacy of ScienceÓ presented at the American Sociological Association, Miami, l993

ÒLooking at Graffiti and Deconstructing the Handwriting on the WallÓ presented at the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, San Francisco, l991

ÒFolded Arms: An Ethnography of a GestureÓ art installation at the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, San Francisco, l991

ÒDogs and their PeopleÓ presentation at the first Conference on Interspecies Relationships, San Francisco, l990

ÒPets, Pests and Protein: Our Relationships with other Species,Ó Paper presented at the American Sociological Association, San Francisco, l989

ÒRichard Nixon and the Idea of RehabilitationÓ presented at the Nixon Symposium, Hofstra University, l989

<>WORK IN PROGRESS<> (May, l994)

With the exception of partial support through a NIMH grant in l970-7l, I have financed all of my research out of my academic salary. It is not funded by any organization or institution. Rather, in the fashion of Bertold BrechtÕs opera, it is a ÒThree-PennyÓ operation.

RICHARD NIXON AND JOHN GOTTI: SOME SOCIOLINGUISTIC COMPARISONS

The ability of powerful people to control their personal space always limits analystsÕ access to the backstage behavior of people of influence. The fact that Richard Nixon wired his inner office, discussed private machinations that focused on law-breaking activity with his trusted aides, and then published an edited version of that talk created a sociological gold mine for the study of elite deviance. In 20th Century Gothic, AmericaÕs Nixon (1979), I discuss some features of that talk, including the regular and recurrent metaphors of the criminal underworld, a phenomenon I call Ògangster talk.Ó Despite the fact that the backstage machinations of subsequent administrations resulted in scandals that were also designated as Ò-gatesÓ there has been no comparable linguistic record to compare with this aspect of NixonÕs private talk. It remains a unique historical case, in the Weberian sense.

In l99l, John Gotti, a known figure of organized crime, was arrested and tried on charges of murder. This case was based in part on secrete recordings of Gotti that were made by the FBI, along with the testimony of Sammy Gravano, a trusted underling who turned statesÕ witness, helping to interpret the meanings of the conversations documented on the tape recordings, a social role analogous to the role played by John Dean in the Nixon administration. The transcript of the talk of bone-fide gangsters is an important document. This how real gangsters talk, at least when they are planning a hit and fearful that their conversation may be recorded, a situation similar to that of Nixon and his associates ad they conspired to obstruct justice and at least the President was aware that his words were being recorded. Thus these transcripts provide a measure against which to assess the transcribed talk of real presidents when they have committed a crime and are conspiring to cover up those actions. Such a comparison of these documents will also reveal contextual and subtextual similarities between organized crime and establishment politics.

At the same time I am interested in pursuing this comparison, I am interested in pursing the new computer technology that will soon revolutionize the way qualitative researchersÕ search their data bases. In addition to the content of ÒGangster TalkÓ I am interested in the methods of sociolinguistic analysis, and how software can be designed to assist this enterprise.

GRAFFITI

Since the mid-l980s I have been collecting photographic images of graffiti. I have collected graffiti in industrial and agrarian societies throughout the world, in urban, suburban and rural settings in those countries, in Moslem, Christian and Hindu societies. I have examples of graffiti from communist and capitalist countries and have access to images others have collected, or included in their photographic frames, over time. The mere presence of these popular yet unauthorized expressions documents social conflict over claims to public space and the public mind. Indeed, contemporary authorities unanimously see graffiti as tangible evidence of their lack of control; they institute expensive and unsuccessful ÒwarsÓ against the presence of these unauthorized expressions. These graffiti wars are an analog of the drug wars: they are symbolic attacks on unconventional forms of expression. They provide propaganda for the rule makers and the rule enforcers and stigma and punishment for those whose conduct is prohibited by these authorities.

Part of the graffiti project is creating an archive that will bring together this prodigious database, as well as provide for its expansion and possible access by others. I am also working on two related papers:

FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL: HANDS, HEARTS AND OTHER UNIVERSAL SYMBOLS OF GRAFFITI ART A short history of graffiti as a form of human expression; prehistoric, historic and cross-cultural examples. Who writes? where? when? with what objectives? The response of the authorities: prohibitions and controls. The ironic juxtaposition of the prohibition of contemporary work and the enshrinement of inscriptions of the past, e.g. prehistoric rock carvings; Pompeii and Herculeum; inmate graffiti in the concentration camps; immigrant graffiti on Ellis Island, etc. For example, El Moro National Park, commemorates prehistoric rock carvings, inscriptions of Spanish, English and American travelers from the l6th through the l9thth century, but it also has 20th century prohibitions against adding to the writing that makes it a special national park to visit in the first place. GraffitiÕs contribution to historians, documenting the history of Egypt after the Pharos; the history of public dissent during the war in the Persian Gulf---all these examples illustrate the conflicts of interests between the powerful and the powerless, as well as actually documenting the expressions of those ordinarily excluded from the established social order.

FORBIDDEN FORMS OF EXPRESSION: GRAFFITI IRRADICATION PROGRAMS AND THE WHITEWASHING OF HISTORY. Following from the first paper, I want to look at the history of graffiti irradication programs---the idea that the ÒpropertyÓ that is being protected by the prohibitions of graffiti is the Òofficial and ideal aesthetic of public spaceÓ that is, the authoritiesÕ definition of what is beautiful, what is aesthetic, what is informative; how money, power and influence grant legitimacy to alter this ideal, e.g. advertising, political campaign posters. How graffiti artists challenge authority and wrest popular command over the environment, communicating a different message, revolutionary in form and in content. I want to review how graffiti and the programs to irradicate it reflect these power relationships between the authorized reality of the dominant culture and various subordinate subcultures of dissent.