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An American sociologist who has pursued diverse interests over a long career, Howard S. Becker (b. 1928) is a prominent advocate of qualitative research methods in a discipline increasingly given to abstraction and quantification. Educated at the University of Chicago in the 1940s under Everett Hughes, Becker self-consciously inherits from the Chicago School a commitment to fine-grained field studies, and from symbolic interactionism an abiding concern with the intersubjective negotiation of meaning. In addition to definitive substantive contributions to the sociology of education, deviance, and art, Becker has been an innovative methodologist, explaining the varied virtues of qualitative inquiry, advocating photography as a legitimate and fruitful mode of social research, and encouraging sociologists to view their work as both science and craft.

Becker's early collaborative ...

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