How To Keep Your Sociological Imagination Alive

In this podcast recorded for Sociological Imagination, Les Back discusses the craft of sociology with Howard Becker. As anyone familiar with his Art of Listening will realise, Les has long been concerned with the role of attentiveness in the practice of sociology, striving to “document and understand social life without assassinating it” and helping younger scholars learn to do the same. This is an approach to sociology both inspired by and building upon the lifelong craft which Howie, as he’s known to his friends, has expressed in far more than a plethora of books and papers (including the most inspiring book about academic writing that anyone is ever likely to write) – as Les put it to me in an e-mail, Howie has tried throughout his career to show how it’s possible to do sociology differently. So too has Les and in this fascinating discussion he invites Howard to reflect on how to keep your sociological imagination alive in a context that too often mitigates against it. In the process they present a vision of sociology in which creativity co-exists with rigour and a sociological sensibility is something one cultivates by looking beyond the academy. I found the resulting interview hugely inspiring and I hope you will too:

Categories: Committing Sociology, Sociological Craft

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