The Outsiders Sociology Essay

As one of his students has written, “Rather than asking the less than fruitful question of why people break rules, Becker came to focus on how people go through an identifiable process to to break rules.” A Beckerian analysis of a social “world” asks how, in any culture or subculture, someone comes to be called an insider while someone else gets pushed outside.Simple as it is, this approach has proved immensely influential in the study of everything from drug addiction to queer theory.Tristano taught simple ways of solving puzzles that come up in improvising—for instance, ways of adding flatted fifths and minor ninths to otherwise too familiar chord sequences.

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And then I met some kids in the neighborhood—you see, I went to Austin High.” Austin High was the citadel of Chicago jazz, where, in the twenties, Bud Freeman had helped create a form of excited, driven white-folks jazz that remained influential through the swing era.

“I got jobs for people who couldn’t afford real musicians—thirteen-year-old kids playing for other thirteen-year-old kids.” Then he got into a better band, which was racially mixed. “Because we were racially mixed, we played only black dances.

“It was wonderful, the whole idea of being an urban anthropologist! “You could be an anthropologist, a very romantic thing, but you didn’t have to go away to do it. If I just wrote down what I was doing at night, just what everyone said and what I observed, then those were field notes.”. Obviously.”) Becker insists that his accomplishment in the paper was no more than the elimination of a single needless syllable: “Instead of talking about drug abuse, I talked about drug .” “Deviance” had long been a preoccupation of sociology and its mother field, anthropology.

Some of the anthropologists I knew lost half their teeth. (Asked if he knew so much because he was smoking weed himself, he says, “Yeah. Most “deviance theory” took it for granted that if you did weird things you were a weird person.

Among sociologists, he’s most famous for having made sociology’s previous theories of “deviance” look deviant: studying obscure or out groups, he has shown that the way their members act together follows the same kinds of rules that everyone else follows.

Some people may march to a different drummer—but, when they do, they’re usually all marching in rhythm, too.

As long-faced and dry-eyed as a stoical silent comedian, Becker is game to talk about anything.

A conversation with him becomes an inimitable spool of bebop piano tips, Chicago history, sociological minutiae, and meditations on French intellectual life, with helpful detours into strip-club culture in the forties and the reasons that French professors think of themselves as civil servants while American ones imagine themselves as entrepreneurs.“I always really wanted to be a piano player,” he begins.

“I started working strip joints on Clark Street—all the grownups were in the Army.

We played the one independent, non-Mob-owned joint.


Comments The Outsiders Sociology Essay

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    Outsiders, a sandwich book comprised of two previouslypublished articles on marijuana use and two on dance musicians, a two-chapter introduction, and a three-chapter conclusion and, in the 1973 edition, the author’s reappraisal of labeling theory, has been, by far, Howard S. Becker’s most-read and most-cited work.…

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