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Why sociology needs more ideological diversity (and especially more conservatives)

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  • 1. C H R I S M A R T I NA P R I L 2 4 , 2 0 1 3Why Sociology Needs MoreIdeological Diversity
  • 2. Sociology is Partisan
  • 3. This is Not NewsLadd (1969) examined a list of scholars who signed ananti-Vietnam war ad in the New York Times.More of them came from sociology than any other field.-Lipset (2001) in The State of American Sociology
  • 4. It Raises Issues of DiscriminationEvidence for and against discrimination: self-selection,social exclusion
  • 5. For Example…“[At graduate school] people were really,really intolerant of any other view besidestheir own--meaning specifically far left-wing academic was the only way to think.And anyone who thought differently … wasshut up immediately.And it just drove me nuts to see people soclosed-minded in graduate school. “Christian Lander
  • 6. Christian Lander Built This
  • 7. But More Importantly, It is Bad for ScienceBecause it keeps social scientists from relevant information.The relevance paradox: An attempt to gather relevantinformation fails, because seeming irrelevant informationturns out to be critical.
  • 8. Limitations on the Data We Use
  • 9. Data Censoring: A Familiar Graph
  • 10. An Unfamiliar Graph: Asians Since 1987
  • 11. Confirmation BiasThe tendency to ask questions, look for evidence, filter data, interpretfindings to confirm one’s preferred viewpoint.Found correlation between anti-Black racist websearches and drop in Obama vote-Seth Stephens-DavidowitzIgnored this Gallup Poll:About 6 percent [of Americans] they were less likelyto vote for Obama because of his race. However,they also found that 9 percent said they weremore likely to vote for Obama because of hisrace; and that 6 percent said they were less likely tovote for McCain because of his race (they also foundthat 7 percent said they were more likely to vote forMcCain because of his race).-Lee Jussim
  • 12. Confirmation Bias: CheneyI really do believe that we will be greeted asliberators [by the Iraqi people]. – DickCheney
  • 13. Confirmation Bias: MarxBakunin: And from the heights of the state[the rulers] begin to look down upon thewhole common world of the workers. Fromthat time on they represent not the peoplebut themselves and their own claims togovern the people. Those who can doubt thisknow nothing at all about human nature.Marx: If Mr Bakunin were familiar justwith the position of a manager in a workers’co-operative, he could send all hisnightmares about authority to the devil. Heshould have asked himself: what form canadministrative functions take, on the basis ofthis workers’ state – if he wants to call itthat?
  • 14. Limited Understanding of Ideologies
  • 15. The Curse of KnowledgeThe difficulty of knowing the perspective of someone who does not knowsomething you know…more broadly the difficulty of taking a differentperspective despite one’s best efforts.Claimed that the economic policies of Republicansdo not benefit Kansans, but Kansas is majorityRepublican.Thus something is the matter with Kansas.--But perhaps Kansans are not strange. Rather theyare merely basing their decisions on a different data.
  • 16. Actor/Observer Bias & ReductionismThe tendency to attribute one’s own behavior to circumstances, but thebehavior of another person to an internal motiveIs there an internal trait called social dominance?Or is SDO along with other social attitudesexplained by social identity and conflict?
  • 17. Framing EffectsThe main difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberalsfocus on progress towards egalitarianism whereas conservatives showresistance to change and tolerate inequality (Jost, 2006; Jost et al.,2003).The main difference between liberals and conservatives is thatconservatives show respect for inherited wisdom whereas liberals show apreference for social volatility and tolerate profligacy.Can be framed as…In general, liberals are more open-minded, creative, curious, and noveltyseeking, whereas conservatives are more orderly, conventional, andbetter organized (Gosling et al.)
  • 18. Framing Metaphors: Social Issue LiteratureStructure and constraints are metaphorical.Suggest a hindrance to modern ideas of liberty and the pursuit ofhappiness.Implication: constraints should be removed.ThusFixed constraints are taboo: genes, ancestry, sex, age.Threats to individuality are taboo: stereotype accuracy.However other metaphors are possible. And metaphors impose orderwhere order is absent.
  • 19. Limitations on the Topics We Choose
  • 20. Limited Moral DimensionsPeople from one particularculture are outliers: peoplefrom societies that are Western,Educated, Industrialized, Rich,and Democratic (WEIRD): theythink more analytically thanholistically.Liberals are also WEIRDerthan conservatives.-Talhelm, Haidt, Oishi et al(2012)“Morality binds and blinds.” – Haidt(2011)
  • 21. Marginalization of Taboo TopicsWhen people form a tribal, moral community, they formtaboos. These are non-negotiable.The problem of "tribalism" affects research only in areasrelated to sacred values, such as race and gender, and alsomoral and political psychology.
  • 22. Alternative ArgumentsA. Liberals are more intelligent than conservativesResponse: The evidence is mixed. Social conservativesseem to be less intelligent than liberals, whereaslibertarians seem more intelligent.In any case, these traits are normally distributed, so onewould expect a higher percentage of liberals, but not to thecurrent degreeB. People are mostly accurate, not biased.Response: This does not fix the problem of data censoring.