Howard P. Becker

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Howard P. Becker
Howard Paul Becker

(1899-12-09)December 9, 1899
DiedJune 8, 1960(1960-06-08) (aged 60)
Home town
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisIonia and Athens Studies in Secularization[1] (1930)
Doctoral advisorRobert E. Park
Academic work
InstitutionsUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison
Doctoral studentsC. Wright Mills[2]
Notable worksMan in Reciprocity (1956)

Howard Paul Becker (December 9, 1899 – June 8, 1960) was for many years professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Becker was the son of Charles Becker, a notoriously corrupt New York police officer who went to the electric chair for murder in July 1915, and Letitia Stenson, of Ontario.[3] His parents divorced six years after his birth and his mother married Charles Becker's brother Paul.

Howard P. Becker was brought up in Reno and Winnemucca, Nevada. He is perhaps best remembered as the author of the book Man in Reciprocity. At the time of his death he had just been elected President of the American Sociological Association, and his presidential address, entitled "Normative Reactions to Normlessness", was delivered by his son, the historian Christopher Bennett Becker.

Becker died on June 8, 1960, of a cerebral thrombosis.[4]


  • Barnes, Harry Elmer; Becker, Howard Paul (1938), Social Thought From Lore to Science, New York: Heath, OCLC 502796286
  • Becker, Howard Paul (1946). German Youth: Bond or Free. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946. Detailed history and sociology of the various aspects of the youth movement. Remarkable for the times, the discussion of homoeroticism and homosexuality within some of these groups is non-judgmental. OCLC 2083809 In 1998, Routledge reprinted this work as Volume 8 of its International Library of Sociology and The Sociology of Youth and Adolescence series. OCLC 761549797 ISBN 978-0-415-86351-3
  • Becker, Howard Paul (1950), Through Values to Social Interpretation, Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, OCLC 562723
  • Becker, Howard Paul (1956), Man in Reciprocity: Introductory lectures on culture, society and personality, New York: F. A. Praeger, OCLC 973583


  1. ^ Becker, Howard Paul (1930). Ionia and Athens Studies in Secularization (PhD thesis). Chicago: University of Chicago. OCLC 28264817.
  2. ^ Mills, C. Wright (2000). Mills, Kathryn; Mills, Pamela (eds.). C. Wright Mills: Letters and Autobiographical Writings. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-520-21106-3.
  3. ^ "Howard Paul Becker, President 1960",, American Sociological Association, March 24, 2005, retrieved February 23, 2016
  4. ^ "News and Announcements: Howard Becker (1899–1960)", American Sociological Review, American Sociological Association, 25 (5), October 1960, JSTOR 2090149

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