Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives [NOOK Book]

Overview

Conservative pundits allege that the pervasive liberalism of America’s colleges and universities has detrimental effects on undergraduates, most particularly right-leaning ones. Yet not enough attention has actually been paid to young conservatives to test these claims—until now. In Becoming Right, Amy Binder and Kate Wood carefully explore who conservative students are, and how their beliefs and political activism relate to their university experiences.

Rich in interviews and ...

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Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives

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Overview

Conservative pundits allege that the pervasive liberalism of America’s colleges and universities has detrimental effects on undergraduates, most particularly right-leaning ones. Yet not enough attention has actually been paid to young conservatives to test these claims—until now. In Becoming Right, Amy Binder and Kate Wood carefully explore who conservative students are, and how their beliefs and political activism relate to their university experiences.

Rich in interviews and insight, Becoming Right illustrates that the diverse conservative movement evolving among today’s college students holds important implications for the direction of American politics.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this groundbreaking study, Binder and a UC–San Diego assistant professor of sociology, and Wood, a doctoral candidate in that field, examine conservatives on American university campuses. The heart of the study is a collection of interviews in 2008 and 2009 of current students and recent graduates of two pseudonymous universities: Western Public and Eastern Elite. Binder and Wood find that differences in campus cultures, both formal elements created by the institutions and informal elements fostered by the students, are the primary factors in the differences in the students’ behavior. In addition to the interviews of students, the authors also include interviews with staff from national organizations that support campus conservative activity as well as data from UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute. Their study demonstrates that because the much larger Western Public university fosters a sense of anonymity, conservative students there are more likely to choose a provocative approach, whereas the sense of being in a unique community at the Eastern Elite college supports a style of civilized discourse. The use of interviews makes the book a livelier read, but it’s still best suited to a narrow audience of academics and political strategists. (Dec.)
Boston Globe - Glenn Altschuler
In Becoming Right, Amy Binder and Kate Wood provide an in-depth and informative examination of who the conservatives are, the impact of campus culture on the formation of their identities and activist styles, and the implications for the direction of U.S. politics.
Times Higher Education - Alan Ryan
[I]f the intellectual interest of this book is the demonstration of how much influence the kind of university has on its students' political culture, a pleasure for the reader is the revelation of the sheer good nature of so many of the study's interviewees; they come across as pretty muddled on many issues but astonishingly rarely as nasty.
New Republic - Elbert Ventura
A deep dive into the under-examined world of campus conservatives, Amy J. Binder and Kate Wood's book can feel like an anthropological account of a disappearing tribe. . . . Binder and Wood's findings add an important dimension to our understanding of the right. The last two decades have seen historians and political scientists extensively study the rise of conservatism. A trenchant addition to that literature, Becoming Right offers a thick description of the state of college conservatism and explains the factors that shape the student—and, it follows, the citizen. The authors' interrogations leave the promise of a better politics hanging in the air: if Binder and Wood are accurate in their depictions, campus cultures that seek to build a stronger sense of community and ideological tolerance could be one key to a more civil national discourse. The book also enriches our understanding of the right's mentality. . . . Becoming Right yields many valuable insights about the possible future of conservatism. But the vision this illuminating book most vividly conjures is the depressing present of conservatism: ugly, unyielding, and provocative to the point of nihilism.
Orgtheory.net - Fabio Rojas
[A] nice discussion of the larger field of conservative politics and how that affects campus protest. Overall, a solid book and one that's essential to studies of campus politics.
From the Publisher
"[G]roundbreaking."—
Publishers Weekly

"A deep dive into the under-examined world of campus conservatives, Amy J. Binder and Kate Wood's book can feel like an anthropological account of a disappearing tribe. . . . Binder and Wood's findings add an important dimension to our understanding of the right. The last two decades have seen historians and political scientists extensively study the rise of conservatism. A trenchant addition to that literature, Becoming Right offers a thick description of the state of college conservatism and explains the factors that shape the student—and, it follows, the citizen. The authors' interrogations leave the promise of a better politics hanging in the air: if Binder and Wood are accurate in their depictions, campus cultures that seek to build a stronger sense of community and ideological tolerance could be one key to a more civil national discourse. The book also enriches our understanding of the right's mentality. . . . Becoming Right yields many valuable insights about the possible future of conservatism. But the vision this illuminating book most vividly conjures is the depressing present of conservatism: ugly, unyielding, and provocative to the point of nihilism."—Elbert Ventura, New Republic

"In Becoming Right, Amy Binder and Kate Wood provide an in-depth and informative examination of who the conservatives are, the impact of campus culture on the formation of their identities and activist styles, and the implications for the direction of U.S. politics."—Glenn Altschuler, Boston Globe

"[I]f the intellectual interest of this book is the demonstration of how much influence the kind of university has on its students' political culture, a pleasure for the reader is the revelation of the sheer good nature of so many of the study's interviewees; they come across as pretty muddled on many issues but astonishingly rarely as nasty."—Alan Ryan, Times Higher Education

"[A] nice discussion of the larger field of conservative politics and how that affects campus protest. Overall, a solid book and one that's essential to studies of campus politics."—Fabio Rojas, Orgtheory.net

"Their book [is an] excellent, engaging, well written, and carefully researched study of the ways culture works in and through schools."—Lisa M. Stulberg, Contexts

"In their important contribution to the scholarship on modern American conservative movement politics, Binder and Wood analyze the varying experiences of conservative student activists on university campuses. The book succeeds on multiple levels."—
Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400844876
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/16/2012
  • Series: Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 424
  • File size: 823 KB

Meet the Author

Amy J. Binder is professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of "Contentious Curricula: Afrocentrism and Creationism in American Public Schools" (Princeton). Kate Wood is an independent scholar.
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Chapter 1: Introduction 1
Chapter 2: Who Are Conservative Students? 29
Chapter 3: Sponsored Conservatism: The Landscape of National Conservative Organizations 76
Chapter 4: How Conservatives Think about Campus: The Effects of College Reputations, Social Scenes, and Academics on Student Experience 113
Chapter 5: Provoking Liberals and Campaigning for Republicans: Two Conservative Styles at the Western Public Universities 161
Chapter 6: Civilized Discourse, Highbrow Provocation, and a Fuller Embrace of Campaigning: Three Conservative Styles at Eastern Elite University 213
Chapter 7: Conservative Femininity 270
Chapter 8: The Theory behind the Findings: How Studying College Conservatives Extends Our Understanding of Higher Education, Politics, and Culture 309

Notes 327
References 363
Index 381

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