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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Disalvo, Daniel / Stonecash, Jeffrey

4 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.536

CiteScore 2017: 0.48

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.265
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.723

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Volume 6, Issue 2


Ascriptive Justice: The Prevalence, Distribution, and Consequences of Political Correctness in the Academy

Solon Simmons
Published Online: 2008-07-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1540-8884.1248

Using data from a new and representative sample of American college and university professors, this paper develops an empirical definition of ``political correctness," explores its distribution in the university setting, and examines its implications for university life. I demonstrate that the politically correct (PC) are more common in elite institutions, even though the un-PC are disproportionally among the academic ``stars" at such institutions. Additionally, the PC are more prevalent in the humanities and social sciences (except notably political science) and among the baby-boomer generation, in contrast to more recent cohorts of scholars. The critical manifestations of PC as a concept suggests that it has more to do with perceptions of material discrimination than it does with social sensitivity or moral relativism. Most importantly, while the PC—those most closely wedded to conceptions of what I call ``ascriptive justice"—are more willing than others to reveal their political commitments in the classroom and to let their passions guide their choice of research topics, there is strong support for academic freedom and no evidence of political intolerance in the group.

Keywords: professors; politics; political correctness; multiculturalism; women and science; postmodernism

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Published Online: 2008-07-24

Citation Information: The Forum, Volume 6, Issue 2, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1540-8884.1248.

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