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"The Politics of Professors" or what it takes to be a liberal.

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MissMarple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 06:37 PM
Original message
"The Politics of Professors" or what it takes to be a liberal.
Edited on Sun Feb-29-04 07:26 PM by MissMarple
If not for liberals would conservatives still be living in caves?

This article was written in response to the pseudo campus brouhaha over liberal professors picking on conservative students and hurting their feeling at Colorado campuses. Some in our legislature would like to make a law against talking "off message" in college classrooms.

But this piece has broader applicability. While listening to an interview from Book notes with Daniel Boorstin, I was struck with how Dr. Boorstin exemplifies what this professor emeritus Dr. Eitzen says about the liberal frame of mind. I urge you to check out the Booknotes piece which may replay this week because of his death this weekend, or find it in the C-Span archive's for Booknotes. I believe it was done in 1988.

"The biggest difference, however, involved the scholarly discipline of a professor. Professors from disciplines that focus on human subjects, especially in groups, are the most liberal. The result is that the social sciences, with sociology and anthropology leading the way, have the highest concentration of political liberals. Somewhat less liberal are professors in the humanities and fine arts. In the middle are professors in the physical sciences, biological sciences and education. Professors in business, engineering, agriculture and other applied fields are generally conservative.

This liberal tendency for professors in a discipline where people in groups are the focus has been found in a number of studies. For example, among psychologists, those who do research on animals are the most conservative, followed in order by those who work with individuals, and social psychologists who do research on the social forces affecting the behavior of people the most liberal.


Armed with the sociological imagination, sociologists ask such questions as: How does society really work? Who really has the power? Who benefits under the existing social arrangements and who does not? Asking these types of questions unmasks, for example, the institutional classism, racism, sexism and homophobia present in the "normal" and "accepted" ways that social structures work to benefit some and disadvantage others.

Conservatives don't ask such critical questions because they accept society's dominant ideology. Sociologists, on the other hand, challenge the bias of the status quo, resulting in a "natural" gravitational pull politically toward liberal, progressive or radical politics. It is just what we do. In effect, sociologists are subversives.",1002,36%7E158%7E,00.html

edited because I'm having issues with copying and pasting. Arrgh.

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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 06:59 PM
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1. Interesting article
I didn't get to check out the interview with Dr. Boorstin.

But, just from the article, I agree with the point:

An underlying premise of the liberal arts tradition is that the college experience for students should involve engaging in ideas that clash with those they brought from home. The college experience should involve exposure to new perspectives, challenges to orthodoxy, and new angles of vision to view, interpret and understand the social world.

I think that at least one purpose of education should be to challenge our assumptions, challenge the norms. I think education should be more than just job training.

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MissMarple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. RN's with a BS or BA seem to be better than those without.
Their patients do better. The supposition was nurses with academic degrees have better critical thinking skills. This was in the paper a couple of months ago, so I can't provide a link.
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HydroAddict Donating Member (316 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-29-04 07:32 PM
Response to Original message
2. More Repub Hypocrites
"Some in our legislature would like to make a law against talking "off message" in college classrooms."

But when it comes to grade school, go off-topic with religion/creationism all you want. ARRRGGHHH!!!!

Nice article though, it definitely smacks truth with me. My most lib professors were, as the article suggests, in the anthropology and philosophy dept's at TAMU (a very conservative Texas college).

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