"thinking together"

Thinking Together, An E-mail Exchange and All That Jazz
Howard Becker et Robert Faulkner
In English, published by Questions Théoriques - October 2013
Edited by Dianne Hagaman, preface by Franck Leibovici (download)


When Rob Faulkner and Howie Becker, two sociologists who were also experienced professionals in the music business, decided to write something about this other part of their lives, they lived at opposite ends of the North American continent: Faulkner in Massachusetts, Becker in San Francisco. They managed the cooperation writing a book requires through e-mail. Instead of sitting around talking, they wrote e-mails to each other.

And so every step of their thinking, the false steps as well as the ideas that worked, existed in written form. So, when Franck Leibovici asked them to contribute something which showed the “form of life” that supported their work, they (helped along by a timely tip from Dianne Hagaman), they sent him the correspondence.

The result is one of the most complete and revealing records of scientific collaboration ever made public. And one of the most intimate pictures of the creative process in all its details that anyone interested in that topic could ask for. Investigative writing is not only about formulating chains of rational ideas (as the usual format of scientific articles would like us to believe), but also mixes plays on words, stories, and arguments in new arrangements.

This book is a contribution to the art project (forms of life)—an ecology of artistic practices, Paris, 2011-2012, by Franck Leibovici, developped at Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers. Co-edited by Questions Théoriques, with the support of FNAGP, Maison Rouge, Fonds de dotation agnès b.