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Sociology and Classical Liberalism

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Charlotta Stern, Daniel Klein, Företagandets villkor, Liberalism, Sociologi

Abstract

We advocate the development of a classical-liberal character in sociology. Even social democrats should recognize classical liberalism as a venerable tradition. They should recognize that its antistatist sensibilities remain a vibrant and valuable part of the general political culture. To say that classical liberalism is underrepresented in sociology would be a vast understatement. Forbidden might be more fitting. The lack of classical liberalism, in our view, has worked to the detriment of sociology and the public purposes that sociology presumably should be fulfilling. First, we relate recent controversies within the sociology profession to show that some sociologists are very critical of the profession’s ideological character. Second, we summarize the results of our survey of ASA members, providing hard data that shows the almost complete absence of classical liberals in the organization. Third, we sketch a few substantive ideas to indicate the promise
of classical-liberal sociology.

Related content: Working Paper No. 81

Klein, D.B. & Stern, C. (2006). ”Sociology and Classical Liberalism.”The Independent Review, 11(1): 37-52.

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Professors and Their Politics: The Policy Views of Social Scientists
Article (with peer review)Publication
Klein, D.B. & Stern, C.
Publication year

2005

Published in
Abstract

Academic social scientists overwhelmingly vote Democratic, and the Democratic hegemony has increased significantly since 1970. Moreover, the policy preferences of a large sample of the members of the scholarly associations in anthropology, economics, history, legal and political philosophy, political sci- ence, and sociology generally bear out conjectures about the correspondence of partisan identification with left/right ideal types; although across the board, both Democratic and Republican academics favor government action more than the ideal types might suggest. Variations in policy views among Democrats is smaller than among Republicans. Ideological diversity (as judged not only by voting behavior, but by policy views) is by far the greatest within economics. Social scientists who deviate from left-wing views are as likely to be libertarian as conservative.

Political Diversity in Six Disciplines
Article (with peer review)Publication
Klein, D.B. & Stern, C.
Publication year

2005

Abstract

The inclination toward the political left in the American academy has existed as a presumption for decades. Recently, faculty and students, who found themselves marginalized by reason of the party they support or their religious convictions, have been advancing the cause of intellectual diversity. Their appeal would seem compelling, given the mission of higher education, but it has met opposition in an institution where diversity is defined as sex and race preferences that outweigh alternate considerations in admissions, hiring, and other areas. Until recently, one impediment to their push for intellectual diversity has been the lack of an adequately rigorous body of research to identify and quantify the presumed political imbalance to which they were responding. Daniel Klein et al. have now provided that research base in two studies of faculty affiliation. The first, a nationwide survey of six fields in the humanities, and the second, of party registration of faculty at two schools in California, reveal that an overwhelming and monolithic majority of professors support the Democratic Party. Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians constitute a negligible minority. Klein’s revelations received broad media coverage after an 18 November 2004 New York Times article (A23) directed readers to the data and conclusions via the NAS web site at www.nas.org. The two studies appear formally in print below for the first time.

Related content: Working Paper No. 53

Democrats and Republicans in Anthropology and Sociology: How Do They Differ on Public Policy Issues
Article (with peer review)Publication
Klein, D.B. & Stern, C.
Publication year

2005

Abstract

Within the fields of anthropology and sociology, how do Democrats and Republicans compare in their opinions on issues of economic regulation, personal choice, and the role of government? Using data from a survey of U.S. members of the American Anthropological Association and the American Sociological Association—with 701 respondents—we find that the differences generally fit the “liberal” and “conservative” stereotypes. Democrats are more permissive on drugs, prostitution, and immigration, while Republicans are more permissive on economic activity. The Democrats are more opposed to military action. However, our survey shows that both Democrats and Republicans are generally supportive or neutral on government activism. Our survey enables a kind of quantification of the differences between the Democrats and Republicans in the two academic fields examined.

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