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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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What Is There to See, What Is There to Say?

What Is There to See, What Is There to Say?

(p.67) 5 What Is There to See, What Is There to Say?
The Sociology of Howard S. Becker

Alain Pessin

, Steven Rendall
University of Chicago Press

This chapter further examines Becker’s sociological perspective, focusing on his techniques of observation. From a Beckerian point of view, truth is on the side of the actors in a situation and not the sociologists who observe them. Pessin explains Becker’s method of constructing problems through observation and notation and discusses the problem of categories in sociological analysis. In Becker’s sociology, progress is made by paying attention to what happens when nothing is happening. Pessin describes how Becker challenged general sociological views on photography. The chapter describes Becker’s valuation of photography as a particularly suitable method of research and his view that the photographic object must be questioned and examined with devices such as montage.

Keywords:   Howard Becker, sociology, truth, observation, photography

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