Professors are liberal because they’re typecast that way

January 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm 4 comments

Why are professors so liberal?  Why are computer science majors mostly male and white or Asian?  One possible answer is the same for each — that’s what we’ve been raised to expect.  Typecasting may explain the liberalness of professors, and why nursing is predominantly female.

A pair of sociologists think they may have an answer: typecasting. Conjure up the classic image of a humanities or social sciences professor, the fields where the imbalance is greatest: tweed jacket, pipe, nerdy, longwinded, secular — and liberal. Even though that may be an outdated stereotype, it influences younger people’s ideas about what they want to be when they grow up.

via Professor Is a Label That Leans to the Left – NYTimes.com.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stephen Downes  |  January 20, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    It’s not simply typecasting, as you suggest here.

    To be a professor is to be essentially in the public service, working for a fixed wage, with a clear upper limit on how much power or wealth you can have.

    People who come from the right do not aspire to what they see as such a tame and unprofitable like. They would rather be self-reliant, rather than living on a salary, they would rather try to amass wealth, rather than read books, they would rather move mountains than to study them.

    It reminds me of my rejoinder to people who claim there are too many liberals in academia — I would be ready to address the problem when they are ready to address the shortage or Marxists in corporate boardrooms

    Reply
    • 2. Aaron Lanterman  |  January 21, 2010 at 4:25 am

      To me, any negatives on salary, etc. are quickly overwhelmed by the fact that once you get tenure you are really, really, really difficult to fire.

      Reply
  • 3. Ian Bogost  |  January 20, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Nerdy?! Nerdy?!

    Reply
  • 4. Garth  |  January 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Hey! I resemble that remark!

    Reply

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