Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Why are there no right wing sociologists?

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Or for that matter academics in social policy fields?

In one respect this is a 'ha ha ha' sort of question - of course there aren't any right wing sociologists, it's all a load of lefty rubbish after all! But I ask in all seriousness because studying 'society' and developing policies reflecting social concerns and challenges is an important area of enquiry.

And it is overwhelmingly left wing - here's a tweet from Peter Matthews who lectures in social and community regeneration and stuff like that at Heriot Watt University:

I'd suggested that the discipline might benefit from actively recruiting people with a world view that isn't 'left wing' - conservative, libertarian, classical liberal, voluntarist. People whose default position isn't to blame it all on the evils of neo-liberalism or who say (to polite murmurings of assent from peers):

"This article argues that the cuts continue a thirty-year process of redistribution to the rich."

None of this is to say that academics shouldn't believe such nonsense but rather to assert that sociology and social policy would be better for seeking a better balance across the political spectrum - to join the real world rather than live in one where the most right wing opinion is just to the left of the current Labour leadership. The idea that the 'disciplinary basis of social policy' should be left wing explains why so many of us - despite caring deeply about social concerns and public policy issues linked to those concerns - find sociology and 'social policy' to be a load of biased lefty trash not worthy of consideration.

Not that this little jotting in a blog read only by the occasional aficionado will change any thing but perhaps sociology would benefit from some right wing thinking, a few conservative pebbles in its leftist sandals?

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2 comments:

Snowdon said...

Sociology is a leftwing echo chamber, pure and simple. As Peter Saunders mentions in this debate, a survey has shown that 98% of UK sociologists lean towards the left or far-left.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyIQrS0Wqr0

Saunders is one of the 2% - he started on the left but allowed himself to be swayed by the facts, for which he has never been forgiven by his former comrades.

It is so notorious that sociology is socialism in academic robes that sociologists have started to use other terms to cover. For example, Richard Wilkinson (co-author of The Spirit Level - BA in history, PhD in sociology) calls himself a social epidemiologist.

Snowdon said...

Sociology is a leftwing echo chamber, pure and simple. As Peter Saunders mentions in this debate, a survey has shown that 98% of UK sociologists lean towards the left or far-left.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyIQrS0Wqr0

Saunders is one of the 2% - he started on the left but allowed himself to be swayed by the facts, for which he has never been forgiven by his former comrades.

It is so notorious that sociology is socialism in academic robes that sociologists have started to use other terms to cover. For example, Richard Wilkinson (co-author of The Spirit Level - BA in history, PhD in sociology) calls himself a social epidemiologist.