Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 95–115

Liberal reformers or militant radicals: What are the effects of education in the social sciences?


DOI: 10.1007/BF02334728

Cite this article as:
Guimond, S. & Palmer, D.L. Social Psychology of Education (1996) 1: 95. doi:10.1007/BF02334728


The assertion by Baer and Lambert (1990) that social science training does not promote radicalism, is tested in two studies. The first, using a sample of politically active students from Montréal (N=68) and measures of radical ideology and political convictions, shows social science students are over-represented among politically active students, and more likely to espouse radical ideology and label themselves members of groups aiming to restructure society, than students from other fields. The second study compares first and third-year social science students from Toronto (N=99) on measures of radical ideology, attitudes toward groups favouring change or the status quo, and causal attributions regarding poverty and unemployment. Results suggest social science training fosters positive evaluations of groups seeking change, espousal of radical ideology, tendency to fault the system for social problems, decrease in tendency to fault individuals, and development of a coherent ideological framework. Implications for academic socialization theories and methodological issues are discussed.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale de la Cognition (URA 1719)Université Blaise PascalClermont-FerrandFrance
  2. 2.Citizenship & Immigration CanadaCanada