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Overheard:  “It’s a weird coincidence.  If you put all my positions on major political issues together, I’d say that I am farther to the left than x% of the American population, which means that I’m to the right of x% of the population of American sociologists.”

2 Comments

  1. sherkat
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know. I think politics is a bit more multidimensional, and I don’t think most hyper leftists types are very “left” in any real sense. Starting in graduate school, I began to refer to the political crowd in academe as the “new left-right.” At my humble university, while wars and famine rage across the globe, they’ve been quite active trying to secure higher (non-merit-based) raises for themselves. And, I’m a conservative because I’m not in the faculty union….I have more important charities, and I’m not a beneficiary constituent of them.

  2. Posted January 25, 2008 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    sherkat,

    on multidimensionality, check out klein and stern’s paper on the politics of ASA members. http://independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_11_01_03_klein.pdf

    the nice thing about it is that they give detailed data on very specific policy preferences. the problem is that they are mostly interested in how the preferences line up with their own ideology of “classical liberalism” so some of the wordings are a bit quirky (and therefore not directly comparable to general population datasets), as is their summary scaling. however, the individual questions are all broken out so you can look for whatever dimensions you find interesting.

    my general reading of their tables is that our profession tends to be more or less in line with the American center on economic regulation but is pretty far left on foreign policy and social issues (e.g. gun control, decriminalizing prostitution and cocaine)

    the gross and simmons study is probably more directly comparable to baseline figures (GSS / NES), but as far as i know they haven’t released anything specific to sociology at this level of detail.


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