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The Sociology of Howard S. BeckerTheory with a Wide Horizon$
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Alain Pessin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226362717

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226362991.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 30 July 2021

A Sociological Perspective

A Sociological Perspective

(p.53) 4 A Sociological Perspective
The Sociology of Howard S. Becker

Alain Pessin

, Steven Rendall
University of Chicago Press

In this chapter, Pessin characterizes Becker’s particular sociological perspective, which is based on direct observation guided by a certain orientation of the sociological way of seeing things. He explains how Becker does not seek a complete understanding, but rather a more complete understanding of social interactions. The chapter details the way Beckerian sociology reoriented the sociological gaze to focus on categories of activities instead of categories of people, as well as to raise the notion of coincidence to the rank of a tool essential for understanding social life. Pessin explains how Becker sees things in terms of processes and contingencies and views collective life as a continual process of creation, denying the possibility that sociology can predict social life.

Keywords:   Howard Becker, sociology, categories, coincidence, contingencies, processes, analytic induction

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