Political Affiliation of Canadian Professors
AbstractThe social role of universities has been subject to a lengthy debate as to whether those who teach in the academy are system legitimizing conservatives or radicals helping to generate critical thinking and challenge to the status quo. Despite this controversy, neoconservatives in the U.S. have used the evidence of professors’ strong support for the Democratic candidates as an indication of universities being dominated by left-leaning radicals. The aim of this paper is to evaluate political affiliations of Canadian university professors, based on a national survey conducted in 2000. The study shows that Canadian professors’ political affiliation can be identified as left and/or right depending on how we conceptualize the political orientation of political parties. Although, university professors tended to vote to the Liberal Party more than other parties, they themselves are more likely to view this party as a centrist party. Moreover, the study highlights a complex and non-monolithic picture of the Canadian academy. University professors are not politically homogenous but that their party vote depends on the prestige of their university, their discipline, gender, ethnicity, marital status, generation and extent of their own liberalism. Résumé. Le rôle social des universités fait depuis longtemps l’objet d’un débat sur l’orientation politique des professeurs : sont-ils des conservateurs qui légitiment le statu quo, ou des radicaux qui aident à créer une pensée critique qui le conteste? Le but du présent article est d’évaluer les affiliations politiques des professeurs canadiens telles qu’elles se dégagent d’un sondage national effectué en 2000. L’étude montre que leur affiliation politique peut être décrite comme de gauche ou de droite, selon la conception qu’on a de l’orientation des partis politiques. Ils votent plus souvent pour les Libéraux que pour d’autres partis, les voyant comme un parti du centre. D’ailleurs, l’étude donne des universités canadiennes un tableau complexe et nullement monolithique. Les professeurs n’ont pas de vues homogènes, ils votent en partie selon le prestige de leur université, leur discipline, leur sexe, leurs antécédents ethniques, leur situation de famille, leur âge et leur attitude envers le libéralisme.
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