“Musicians think the only music worth playing is what they call jazz.”*
Unfortunately, the news came that Howard Saul Becker, who is considered one of the most important figures of American sociology, passed away on August 16. It was announced by his relatives that 95-year-old Becker passed away peacefully at his home in San Francisco.
Howard S. Becker, also known as a sociologist who questions sociology, was also a jazz artist. He continued to play the piano, which he started at an early age, as a semi-professional, while he was a university student, where he studied sociology. At that time, while he was a student in Chicago, he realized that he could continue his sociological research without giving up music and chose jazz clubs as his field of study. It was from this “collaboration” that his work, Outsiders, and labeling theory, which he would write especially in the history of sociology, emerged.
The publisher in Turkish introduces Howard S. Becker’s aforementioned work with the following sentences: As of its historical starting point, sociology, which has been the science of “normal” and “establishment of normal”, has tried to define “deviation” and “deviation” from “normal” and “violation of normal” for a long time and still today. it is a case. The sociological examination of the “criminal-deviant” profiles with various statistical tools did not only constitute an important part of the “sociology of crime/deviation” article, but also reinforced the following basic general judgment: The deviant is the other (external); its perversion is in a sense in its nature; is immanent to his action; that is, not everyone can be deviant; you are not heretics!… And the continuation perhaps comes with the following implicit proposition: Be at ease; we take care of them!
Becker, one of the living giants of American sociology, offers a very mind-opening, completely different perspective on the issue in this book. “No,” Becker says. and adds: In order to understand a “deviant”, it is necessary to look at the “deviant”, “imposing a legitimate deviant definition”, and “concealing the deviant” as well as those who are labeled as “deviant”. And Becker takes us to the jazz world, nightlife and back streets of Chicago of the late 1950s; we see “Men and women”, junkies, homosexuals, prostitutes, musicians, and many perverts of various kinds. When you turn the last page, the book leaves you with this feeling: yes, you too, dear reader, in your most normal and conventional way, you too, sir, and you too, lady; you too can be branded as “deviant” one day. The outsiders may not be that far away; maybe they are as close to you as you are… (Becker, Haricîler, trans. Ş. Wide, L. Ünsaldı, Heretik Publications, 2013)
The following books by Howard S. Becker, apart from the Hariciler, have also been translated into Turkish:
Sanat Dünyaları (çev. E. Yılmaz, Ayrıntı Yay., 2013)
Sosyal Bilimcilerin Yazma Çilesi: Yazımın Sosyal Organizasyonu Kuramı (çev. Ş. Geniş, Heretik Yay., 2013)
Mesleğin İncelikleri: Sosyal Bilimlerde Araştırma Nasıl Yürütülür? (çev. L. Ünsaldı, B. Öztürk, H. E. Mescioğlu, Ş. Geniş, G. Metin, Heretik Yay., 2014)
Toplumu Anlatmak (çev. Ş. Geniş, E. Arıcan, M. Hazır, Heretik Yay., 2016)
Peki ya Mozart? Peki ya Cinayet?: Vakalar Üzerinden Akıl Yürütmek (çev. Ö. A. Türker, E. Arıcan, Heretik Yay., 2017)
Kanıt (çev. Ş. Geniş, Nika Yay., 2021)
* Haricîler, s. 112