Professors and Their Politics Kindle æ Professors and

Professors and Their Politics Professors and Their Politics tackles the assumption that universities are ivory towers of radicalism with the potential to corrupt conservative youth Neil Gross and Solon Simmons gather the work of leading sociologists historians and other researchers interested in the relationship between politics and higher education to present evidence to the contrary In eleven meaty chapters contributors describe the political makeup of American academia today consider the causes of its liberal tilt discuss the college experience for politically conservative students and delve into historical debates about professorial politicsOffering readable rigorous analyses rather than polemics

1 thoughts on “Professors and Their Politics

  1. Jurij Fedorov Jurij Fedorov says:

    2 stars as a book3 stars as a debate input from the pro liberal academia side for people with expertise on the area5 stars for the first chapterBiases pro liberal academia pro no change in academia blank slate focus with no discussion of genetic variables even though we know they play a huge role in this specific area claims disproving large scale discriminationReviewI looked a bit into the writers and it seemed like they didn't use big words to convey a strong political message which made it seem scientific to me So since the book didn't have any reviews I'm here to read it and write oneThough after starting reading the book I read uite a few old and new papers on this topic and found out that this book is pretty much an answer to a small group of conservative and centrist academics who claim that discrimination against conservatives may be a big issue in academia So this book has that pro liberal pro academia bias if you can call it a full blown bias The main claim is that discrimination against conservatives in academia is a mythI remember believing in the gender wage discrimination myth until I started reading the studies on the area I also falsely believed that racism explained race differences in academia and the job market Two of my main believes fell because I started reading the science and couldn't support those biases any Now onto the idea that conservatives are discriminated against in academia Will this one also fall? That's stronger than the other 2 claims as we are talking about a clash of ideas and ingroups here But in my mind there is no great support for the hypothesis yet And this book frantically tries to make sure that every conservative out there knows thatObviously it's not a best seller type of accessible book Otherwise it would have some reviews The intro is terrible Hard to read and feels pointless Just a weak debate intro that tells me nothing concrete It's clear that they hide behind academic jargon to not reveal their cards TerribleChapter 1 is really good The editors conducted a study to look into the political leanings of professors They have some really great tables in this chapter This book is a collection of semi articles So we are reading paper where not chaptersThe chapter 1 study surveyed 1416 American professors with full time appointments from 927 institutions They responded on the online survey in 2006 Mostly bigger departments were askedThen unfortunately it drops in uality yet again Chapter 2 is a loose discussion of reasonings behind professors' political leaning And these reasonings are obnoxiously confusing at times On page 60 they propose that future professors don't get into fields that have a political leaning counter to their worldview Completely missing the fact that liberals may just have inborn interests making them go into sociology psychology or journalism They skip any and all talk about genetic dispositions which makes all their arguments incomplete as they stop just shy of explaining any effect Occam's Razor is misused here in a big degree But the chapter does explain a study showing that the political differences in universities are likely caused by some sort of self selection caused by a mystical force It's just that they don't even try to clearly explore the reasons for this by looking at heritability estimates and life trajectories Either way I was confused by the chapter because they didn't really have a clear mindset It's sociology hitting left and right without using a foundation strong of evolutionary psychologyChapter 3 is a letdown yet again While the results are interesting the writing is yet again all over the place This is mediocre academic jargon writing The sort you won't fully understand until you have read a lot of it in this area or reread the article I did both The results show that professors differ politically across countries and tend to be right leaning on economic politics something I have seen counter studies on though so don't right away believe this is the final conclusion At any rate the charts are very much a confusing mess They go from 1 to 3 and have dots moving on lines Then they regularly change the X axis I don't get this choice of chart I don't get this choice of writing either It's way too confusing to be in a simple book Academic writing can truly be confusing This is not terrible I'm just not convinced by any of these arguments as I don't really understand why these numbers show these things Yet again there is no conclusive explanation and instead 10 uestions appear But it did make me think that maybe professors in many countries are not left leaning I've seen a study from Sweden supporting this claim But then again I've seen a study from Europe not supporting this claimChapter 4 tackles the elephant in the room directly Here they study discrimination by ualitative means while also gathering concrete data Finally revealing what this book is about Here we are back on track with a study I already have heard about I understand everything they write too They write clearly and the arguments are well structured so I don't find any great holes in them The study is good too They sent out letters to universities asking to work on projects with them 1 fake applicant had worked on the Obama campaign and the other had worked on the McCain campaign Even though McCain is somewhat center leaning he did run for GOP And there were no noticeable differences in the emotional tones of the letters or numbers of the replies Basically no evidence of a grand discrimination This is in line with race and gender discrimination studies There is for sure some discrimination to be found in single cases But then it can work both ways I think this sort of experiment is fine enough to dismiss such a weak claim of discrimination But it's not really a grand study and focuses a lot on hard to measure conceptsChapter 5 Here they follow single students to observe how they change their political leanings during college They claim that studies just comparing colleges to regular jobs or other such comparisons don't really pinpoint an effect They measure too many variables at one time In this study they of course yet again disprove the conservative hypothesis Yet again I'm convinced But the study reads badly in such a book chapter I need the regular stuff to right away make my way around a study Here they just explain everything with text It's confusing as it's harder to remember the details of the study It's for sure a very interesting study at any rate that shows that both political sides go towards center during college I'm just convinced by numbers than letters And here it's mostly all lettersChapter 6 is a ualitative sociology study comparing 2 groups of conservative students in 2 universities It's basically a soft science anthropology study that would fit better in a documentary as it doesn't really bring any conclusive evidence to the table It's fine but I rather read good evidence and just observe this stuff in YouTube videos unless they also bring numbers to the table which they don'tRest of chapters Here we go into philosophical discussions on academia and political changes It's very soft science with just arguments being used and very complicated academic writing Unless you are really eager to read this part slow and try to think about all those confusing sentences it's probably not worth it compared to the studies You already know what their worldview is But here it's just presented in a very convoluted way So if you really want to get into the debate from this point of view you can But I rather suggest you read the alternative claims too because the debate is not settled hereConclusionThis is a book for academics who want to disprove the discrimination against conservatives assumption And I think the book does a fair job on this point even though I personally didn't need this much convincing It's academic studies and dry text This is obviously not for everyone and they do skip any heritability discussion I think that point could have pretty much sealed the debate for them for now Alas we are left with a incomplete argument that still feels better than the alternative incomplete argument as it's not their job to prove a negative Yet they leave everything hanging What percentage is heritability here? We did these studies with grades and know that grades are not a cultural construct so the discussion kinda finished there But here sociologists are using outdated blank slate point of views only moving the debate forward very slowly The book would be better if the alternative viewpoints at least could have a say too but I guess it's not an eual debateIt's a good book for people needing to study up on this topic But the chaptersexperiments are hit and miss And they are extremely sociology focused so it's very loose and unfocused science This is not a conclusive answer to anything But it is a significant part of a greater debate Ignoring all psychology findings of the last 40 years is a huge miss thoughSomething to add After I read the book and reviewed it I was kinda thinking about how I had only read the left wing point of view because picking random social science stuff you find online will mean that you mostly read left wing ideas Since then I have read good articles like the Noah Carl one that uestion some of the studies and assumptions in the book Now I'm becoming critical of the book and the main ideas in it But I won't lower the 2 star rating as it's still a decentgood input to the debatehttpswwwadamsmithorgresearchla

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