The distribution of anti-Semitism in Canada: A hasty and erroneous generalization by Brym and Lenton

Langlois, Simon
March 1992
Canadian Journal of Sociology;1992, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p175
Academic Journal
The article critically discusses the distribution of anti-Semitism in Canada in 1984, as analyzed by Robert J. Brym and Rhonda L. Lenton. In the first few lines of the article, in describing anti-Semitism, the authors refer to social actions and practices, such as policies excluding Jews; physical violence; and cemetery desecrations, and the authors clearly state that they wish to analyze anti-Semitic feeling. But their analysis falters somewhat after this, and in several passages in their text they refer directly to anti-Semitism without qualifying it in any way, whereas the subject of their article is in fact limited to the study of a single question measuring an opinion. There is a considerable gap or imbalance between the problem posed and the analysis that is provided. The object of the analysis extends well beyond what the data can legitimately be used to demonstrate. The measurement of anti-Semitic opinion used by the two authors is actually a scale from 0 to 100 on which individuals could indicate "theft feelings toward Jews," with 0 representing the most negative attitude and 100 representing the most positive attitude. Unfortunately, the wording of the question is not provided. This is quite a primitive measurement, whose reliability and validity must be called into question.


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