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Seminar Series: Cohort and Electoral Correlates of Americans' Foreign Language Policy Attitudes

John P. Robinson, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland
When Oct 22, 2012
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where 0124B Cole Student Activities Building
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
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About the Talk

Among the many issues in the 2008 US Presidential election were the deteriorating economy, candidate race, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and income taxes. Although issues related to foreign language (FL) policy were raised indirectly, as in connection with immigration policy and national security, they were rarely addressed directly in the Presidential debates, campaign platforms or political advertising. This analysis identifies some notable recent changes in FL-policy attitudes in the American public over the last decade and relates these changes to key demographic groups within the US electorate. The data come from seven FL-policy questions first asked in the 2000 General Social Survey (GSS), and updated in a 2008 national RDD omnibus survey conducted by the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida (UNF). In that 2008 survey, more cosmopolitan and open attitudes towards FL and FL-policy were significantly correlated with the vote for Barack Obama, other factors equal. Moreover, there were notable cohort differences in FL attitudes, particularly in the more tolerant attitudes among our youngest adult respondents.

About the Speaker

John Robinson

John P. Robinson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland and Director of the Americans’ Use of Time Project as well as Director of the Internet Scholars Program. He is primarily interested in the study of time and is co-author of several books dealing with the use of time and the quality of life, including Time for Life (with G. Godbey, Penn State Press, 1999), The Rhythm of Everyday Life: How Soviet and American Citizens Use Time (Westview, 1988) and How Americans Use Time (Praeger, 1977).

Visit Professor Robinson's web page

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