The Outsiders Sociology Essay

The Outsiders Sociology Essay-83
“I started working strip joints on Clark Street—all the grownups were in the Army.We played the one independent, non-Mob-owned joint.

“I started working strip joints on Clark Street—all the grownups were in the Army.We played the one independent, non-Mob-owned joint.The kids who were at the black dances, if you didn’t play those pieces exactly the way they were on the record, you were in trouble. When I met him, he was in his late twenties and had already stopped playing in public—he wouldn’t put up with anything other than perfect playing conditions, with the result that he almost never played.”Tristano, who was a saxophonist as well as a pianist, was the Glenn Gould of bebop: difficult, hypersensitive, reclusive, and hugely gifted.

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One of his informants (a fellow band member) reported, “I walked around the room, walking around the room trying to get off, you know; it just scared me at first, you know.

I wasn’t used to that kind of feeling.” Another musician explained, “You have to just talk them out of being afraid.

At a time when the general assumption was that drug use was private and compulsive, Becker argued that you had to how to get high.

Smoking weed, he showed, was most often strange or unpleasant at first.

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.

Now a brisk eighty-six, he remains most famous for the studies collected in his book “Outsiders,” of 1963, which transformed sociologists’ ideas of what it means to be a “deviant.” In America’s academic precincts, he is often seen as a sort of Richard Feynman of the social sciences, notable for his street smarts, his informal manner, and his breezy, pungent prose style—a Northwestern professor who was just as at home playing piano in saloons.

(Indeed, the observations that put him on the path to academic fame, on the subculture of marijuana smokers, began while he was playing jazz piano in Chicago strip joints. “These were strip joints.”)Yet it is his position in France that is truly astonishing. That may be exactly its appeal, though: for the French, Becker seems to combine three highly American elements—jazz, Chicago, and the exotic beauties of empiricism.

Guys would come in from the hybrid-seed-corn convention and spend three or four thousand dollars buying drinks for the girls.

Then they’d go away happy.”He planned to get a graduate degree in English while continuing his jazz life, and then one day he stumbled on a new book, “Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City”—the northern city being Chicago—by St. It was one of the first in-depth studies of contemporary urban life.


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