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David O’Keefe Sears (born June 24, 1935, Urbana, Illinois) is an eminent American psychologist who specializes in political psychology. He is a distinguished professor of psychology and political science at the University of California, Los Angeles where he has been teaching since 1961. He served as dean of social sciences at UCLA between 1983 and 1992. Best known for his theory of symbolic racism, Sears has published many articles and books about the political and psychological origins of race relations in America, as well as on political socialization and life cycle effects on attitudes, the role of self-interest in attitudes, and multiculturalism. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991.

David O. Sears
Born (1935-06-24) June 24, 1935 (age 84)
ResidencePacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California
NationalityUnited States
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma mater
Known for
Awards
  • APSA Warren E. Miller Prize (2002)
  • ISPP Harold D. Lasswell Award (1995)
  • AAAS Fellow (1991)
Scientific career
Fields
Institutions
Doctoral advisorHoward Leventhal
Other academic advisorsH. Stuart Hughes
Influences

Personal life and academic careerEdit

David Sears was born on June 24, 1935 in Urbana, Illinois, to the psychologists Pauline ("Pat") K. Snedden Sears[1] and Robert Richardson Sears. He has a younger sister, Nancy Sears Barker. When he was one year old, the Sears family moved to New Haven, Connecticut as Robert Sears took up a position at Yale University, staying in there until 1942; due to this early move to New Haven from Urbana, David Sears considers the former as his home city. He further has also lived in Iowa City, Iowa, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Portola Valley, California during his childhood and youth as his parents moved to academic positions in different research universities.

Sears went to Belmont High School and graduated in 1953. He graduated from Stanford University in 1957 with an AB in history with a minor in psychology; he presented, under the H. Stuart Hughes' guidance, a thesis on the Nazi mobilization of the youth. He then received both a MS in 1959 and a PhD in psychology in 1962 from Yale University with the dissertation "Anticipated criticism, opinion structure, and opinion change" having Howard Leventhal[2] as his advisor.[3][4] At Yale, he also worked with and was mentored by political scientist Robert E. Lane[5] serving as research assistant in Lane's research on political attitudes and behavior published in his book Political Ideology.[6]

He joined the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles as an acting assistant professor in 1961 just after having filed his dissertation in December 1961, became an assistant professor in 1962,[7] published his first article—a study of punishment in the white rat—in 1964,[8] and was promoted to associate professor of psychology in 1967. From 1967 to 1968, Sears was a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. He was promoted to associate professor of psychology and political science in 1969, and to full professor of psychology and political science in 1971. He was a visiting professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley from 1972 to 1973. He served as the dean of social sciences at the UCLA College of Letters and Science from 1983 to 1992, and was the director at the UCLA Institute for Social Science Research from 1993 to 2008.[9]

David Sears was awarded with the Edward L. Bernays Foundation Psychology and Social Issues Book Award in 1975 for The Politics of Violence: The New Urban Blacks and the Watts Riot[9] co-authored with John B. McConahay[10]. He also received the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize from The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues[11] in 1978 for his paper Symbolic Racism versus Racial Threats to 'The Good Life', co-authored with Donald R. Kinder.[12] Sears became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991.[13] He served as the president of the International Society of Political Psychology in 1994-95, received the Harold D. Lasswell Award from the ISPP for his "distinguished scientific contribution in the field of political psychology" in 1995[14] and the Warren E. Miller Award from the American Political Science Association for his "lifetime intellectual accomplishment and service to the profession in the elections, public opinion, and voting behavior field" in 2002.[9] In 2012, the ISPP established the David O. Sears Award in his honor. The Sears Award has been given for the best book published in the field of the political psychology of mass politics in the previous year.[15]

He teaches graduate and undergraduate level courses in political psychology at UCLA[16] and coordinate the UCLA Political Psychology Lab. His graduate laboratory on political psychology brings together students from different fields to explore and discuss contemporary research on political psychological topics as political socialization, race and ethnicity, political participation, and public opinion.

David Sears has been cited 13,946 times in Google Scholar, being the number one most cited in political psychology in that site.[17]

He married Cynthia Lovelace in 1961, divorcing in 1970. In 2004, he married Carrie Powers, who died in 2010.[18] He has four daughters, Juliet, Olivia, Meredith and Annabelle. He lives in Pacific Palisades, California and spends his summer vacations in Lake Winnipesaukee, Moultonborough, New Hampshire.

ResearchEdit

Symbolic politicsEdit

The symbolic politics theory argues that symbolic predispositions evoke longstanding affective responses rather than rational self-interest calculations as powerful causes of opinions and behaviors.[19][20]

Self interest is defined as the "(1) short-to-medium term impact of an issue (or candidacy) on the (2) material well-being of the (3) individual's own personal life (or that of his or her immediate family)." Self-interest does not include long-term interest, nonmaterial—social or psychological—elements of well-being or group-related benefits.[21] Self-interest is contrasted to "symbolic predisposition" as partisanship, ideology, or beliefs. Sears' theory of symbolic politics argues that these symbolic predispositions are formed early in life and are stable, and so are not correlated with self-interest.[19][20]

With few exceptions throughout the literature, symbolic predispositions has presented more substantive and statistical explanatory power on attitudes and behaviors than self-interest. Only in occasional exceptions, as when there are clear and substantial stakes as job cuts or regarding tax burdens[22] or ambiguous and dangerous threats as compulsory military draft lottery,[23] self-interest has a clear effect on political attitudes and behavior. Even in these cases, the impact of self-interest are quite specific to the issues in question.[24]

Symbolic racismEdit

Sears' theory of symbolic racism was developed during the decade of 1970 and further refined.[25][26][27] His theory has been developed and used in the analysis of new forms of racism in the United States that emerged especially after the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s. According to Sears' theory of symbolic racism, a subtle form of racism replaced the Jim Crow or “old-fashioned” racism. Instead of the open prejudice, based on beliefs in the biological inferiority of Blacks and support for formal segregation and discrimination, the symbolic racism is a more abstract set of beliefs comprising a “blend” of primitive anti-Black affect with traditional American moral values.

As defined by Kinder and Sears,

Symbolic racism represents a form of resistance to change in the racial status quo based on moral feelings that blacks violate such traditional American values as individualism and self-reliance, the work ethic, obedience, and discipline. Whites may feel that people should be rewarded on their merits, which in turn should be based on hard work and diligent service. Hence symbolic racism should find its most vociferous expression on political issues that involve 'unfair' government assistance to blacks: welfare ('welfare cheats could find work if they tried'); 'reverse discrimination' and racial quotas ('blacks should not be given a status they have not earned'); 'forced' busing ('whites have worked hard for their neighborhoods, and for their neighborhood schools'); or 'free' abortions for the poor ('if blacks behaved morally, they would not need abortions').[25]

The symbolic racism is an effort to understand White's continuing resistance to efforts and policies aiming to increase racial inequality despite the decline of the level of overt racism in the USA.

Although slightly revised versions of the theory symbolic racism have appears in the literature under label like “modern racism” [28] and “racial resentment”,[29] they have been operationalized empirically with similar survey items. The symbolic racism and its variants have been the most widely used measures of explicit racism in the last three decades.[30]

Despite the fact that symbolic racism is conceptualized as a “blend” of anti-Blacks affect with traditional American values, it has been presenting an independent explanatory power explaining White's racial policy attitudes even when controlled for other items (different from those used in its scale) measuring either racism or traditional/conservative values.

Academic positionsEdit

Notable and emerging studentsEdit

Awards and recognitionEdit

In the popular pressEdit

Recent appearances in the popular media:

  • In April 22, 2011, David O. Sears discussed in The New York Times the racialization of 2008 presidential election and the role of racial resentment as a predictor of candidate choice.[31]
  • In an interview to the newsletter UCLA Today David Sears discussed the impact of multicultural environments and institutions on reducing racial bias.[32]

Published worksEdit

BooksEdit

  • Lane, Robert E.; David O. Sears (1964). Public Opinion. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc. OCLC 255504.
  • Freedman, Jonathan L.; David O. Sears; J. Merrill Carlsmith (1970). Social Psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc. OCLC 79448.
  • Freedman, Jonathan L.; Carlsmith, J. Merrill; Sears, David O., eds. (1971). Readings in Social Psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc. OCLC 137568.
  • Sears, David O.; John B. McConahay (1973). The Politics of Violence: The New Urban Blacks and the Watts Riot. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. OCLC 745837.
  • Sears, David O.; Richard E. Whitney (1973). Political Persuasion. Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press.
  • Freedman, Jonathan L.; J. Merrill Carlsmith; David O. Sears (1974). Social Psychology (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.
  • Freedman, Jonathan L.; David O. Sears; J. Merrill Carlsmith (1978). Social Psychology (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.
  • Freedman, Jonathan L.; David O. Sears; J. Merrill Carlsmith (1981). Social Psychology (4th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.

Selected articles and book chaptersEdit

  • Sears, David O. (1975). "Political Socialization" (PDF). In Greenstein, Fred I.; Polsby, Nelson W. (eds.). Handbook of Political Science, Vol. 2. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Young, Jacy L. (2010). Rutherford, A. (ed.). "Profile of Pauline Sears". Psychology's Feminist Voices Multimedia Internet Archive. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  2. ^ "Howard Leventhal". IHHCPAR Faculty. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  3. ^ For David O. Sears' dissertation, see the references for the article: David O. Sears (1967). '"Social Anxiety, Opinion Structure, and Opinion Change Archived 2010-07-12 at the Wayback Machine"'. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 7 (2): 142-151.
  4. ^ Howard Leventhal's CV. David O. Sears is listed as one of his former students.
  5. ^ "Robert E. Lane". Yale Department of Political Science. Archived from the original on December 15, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  6. ^ Lane, Robert E. (1962). Political Ideology: Why the American Common Man Believes What He Does. New York, NY: Free Press. OCLC 2282017.
  7. ^ At that time, Yale University conferred degrees only once a year, by the end of the academic year. Sears filed his dissertation in December 1961, and need to wait until June 1962, to receive his doctoral degree. Since he had already finished his dissertation, he was hired at UCLA in 1961 but could only become an assistant professor in 1962 after having his degree officially conferred.
  8. ^ Sears, David O. (1964). "Punishment and Choice in the Rat" (PDF). Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology. 57 (2): 297–299. doi:10.1037/h0047129. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-11.
  9. ^ a b c "David Sears' CV" (PDF). September 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  10. ^ "John B. McConahay". WorldCat Identities. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  11. ^ "Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues".
  12. ^ "The Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize. The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues". Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  13. ^ "Academy Membership, Chapter 'S'" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  14. ^ "Harold D. Lasswell Prize". International Society of Political Psychology. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  15. ^ "David O. Sears Book Award". International Society of Political Psychology. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  16. ^ "David O. Sears' Class Websites". ClassWeb. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  17. ^ "David O. Sears". Google Scholar. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  18. ^ Carrie F. Sears, 53; Retired Bond Trader, Creative Home Gardener
  19. ^ a b Sears, David O.; Carolyn L. Funk (1990). "Self-Interest in Americans' Political Opinions" (PDF). In Mansbridge, J. J. (ed.). Beyond Self-Interest. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  20. ^ a b Sears, David O.; Carolyn L. Funk (1991). The Role of Self-Interest in Social and Political Attitudes (PDF). Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. 24. pp. 1–91. doi:10.1016/s0065-2601(08)60327-5. ISBN 9780120152247. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-11.
  21. ^ David O. Sears and Carolyn L. Funk (1990). '"Self-Interest in Americans' Political Opinions Archived 2010-07-12 at the Wayback Machine"'. In J. J. Mansbridge (Ed.), Beyond Self-Interest. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990, p. 148
  22. ^ Sears, David O.; Jack Citrin (1985). Tax Revolt: Something for Nothing in California (Enlarged ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674868359. OCLC 786934617.
  23. ^ Erikson, Robert S.; Laura Stoker (2011). "Caught in the draft: The effects of Vietnam draft lottery status on political attitudes". American Political Science Review. 105 (2): 221–237. doi:10.1017/s0003055411000141.
  24. ^ David O. Sears and Carolyn L. Funk (1990). '"Self-Interest in Americans' Political Opinions Archived 2010-07-12 at the Wayback Machine"'. In J. J. Mansbridge (Ed.), Beyond Self-Interest. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990, p. 170
  25. ^ a b Kinder, Donald R.; David O. Sears (1981). "Prejudice and Politics: Symbolic Racism versus Racial Threats to the Good Life" (PDF). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 40 (3): 414–431. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.40.3.414. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-06.
  26. ^ Sears, David O.; P. J. Henry (2005). Over Thirty Years Later: A Contemporary Look at Symbolic Racism (PDF). Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. 37. pp. 95–130. doi:10.1016/s0065-2601(05)37002-x. ISBN 9780120152377. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-11.
  27. ^ Sears, David O.; Colette Van Laar; Mary Carrilo; Rick Kosterman (1997). "Is it really racism? The origins of White Americans' opposition to race-targeted politics" (PDF). Public Opinion Quarterly. 61 (1): 16–53. doi:10.1086/297785. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-12.
  28. ^ McConahay, John B. (1986). "Modern racism, ambivalence, and the modern racism scale". In Dovidio, John; Gaertner, Samuel L. (eds.). Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism. Orlando, FL: Academic Press. OCLC 13559866.
  29. ^ Kinder, Donald R; Lynn M. Sanders (1996). Divided by Color: Racial politics and democratic ideals. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. OCLC 33819409.
  30. ^ Biernat, Monica; Christian S. Crandall (1999). "Racial attitudes". In Robinson, J. P.; Shaver, P. R; Wrightsman, L. S. (eds.). Measures of Political Attitudes. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. OCLC 40865533.
  31. ^ Sears, David O. "Racial Resentment at Its Root". The New York Times. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  32. ^ Sears, David O. "Study shows UCLA's diversity helps reduce racial bias". UCLA Today. Archived from the original on October 22, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2012.

External linksEdit