“I’ve avoided judgments about the adequacy of any mode of representation, not taking any of them as the yardstick against which all other methods should be judged. Nor have I adopted the slightly more relativistic position that, while the jobs to be done may differ, there is a best way of doing each kind of job. That isn’t relativistic asceticism on my part either. It seems more useful, more likely to lead to new understanding of representations, to think of every way of representing social reality as perfect – for something. The question is, what something is it good for?”
Howard Becker, 2007, Telling About Society.
“I insisted earlier that researchers must learn to question, not accept blindly, what the people whose world they are studying think and believe. Now I have to say that at the same time they should pay attention to just that. After all, people know a lot about the world they live and work in. They have to know a lot to make their way through its complexities. They have to adjust to all its contradictions and conflicts, all the problems it throws their way. If they didn’t know enough to do that, they wouldn’t have lasted there this long. So they know, plenty.”
Howard Becker, 1998, Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research While You’re Doing It, University of Chicago Press.