Stereotypes in Political Reasoning
- LAST REVIEWED: 03 December 2020
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 May 2019
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0258
- LAST REVIEWED: 03 December 2020
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 May 2019
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0258
Group-based assessments are a core ingredient of many political judgments. Characteristics such as a candidate’s political party, race, ethnicity, or gender influence voter evaluations. Opinions toward a wide range of public policies are shaped by beliefs about and affect toward policy beneficiaries. Of the many group-related attitudes that play a role in political reasoning, stereotypes are among the most important. Stereotypes are beliefs we hold about the characteristics, tendencies, and competencies of social groups. Research in psychology has demonstrated the functional role stereotypes play in helping us navigate through a complex social world, but also that stereotypes can operate automatically, are resistant to updating, and can lead to prejudice and discrimination. Academics across disciplines have grappled with how to best measure stereotypes, notably whether to use explicit or implicit measurement strategies. Despite valid concerns that explicit items might not be answered honestly, due to societal pressures, these measures continue to be common in the political science literature. As for which groups’ stereotypes have been studied, political stereotyping based on gender and race/ethnicity has received much more attention than have other characteristics, such as sexuality, religion, or class. The research has documented a decline in stereotyping in some domains, such as gender stereotyping of candidates, yet a persistence of stereotyping in others, such as the influence of racial and ethnic stereotypes on policy opinions. Scholars have also uncovered the nuanced role that stereotypic thinking can play in political judgment. Factors that influence whether stereotypes are influential include whether an actor displays stereotypic-consistent versus inconsistent behavior, the ideology of the perceiver or the target, and whether stereotypes of an ingroup or outgroups are relevant. A notable emerging line of inquiry focuses on intersectional stereotyping, or stereotyping based on multiple identities simultaneously. Significant progress has been made toward our understanding of stereotyping at the gender-race intersection, especially regarding women of color, as well as the intersecting nature of gender and party stereotypes.
Numerous articles, essays, and book chapters have reviewed stereotyping literatures over the years. Because overviews published relatively recently feature both foundational and more recent work on political stereotyping, this section mostly includes newer examples of useful overviews. The exceptions are Judd and Downing 1995, whose authors were among the first to document the application of social psychological studies of stereotyping to political judgments, and Fiske 1998, which comprehensively connects work on stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. More recently, Kinder 2013 and Al Ramiah and Hewstone 2013 review stereotyping research that overlaps with, respectively, prejudice and discrimination. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Political Decision Making contains many relevant articles, including Bauer 2018 on gender stereotyping, Cassese 2018 on intersectional stereotyping, and Schneider, et al. 2018 on measuring stereotypes. Also included here are a review of gender stereotyping research and measurement by Sanbonmatsu and Dolan 2012 and a chapter by Greenlee, et al. 2017 that focuses on stereotypes of mothers and motherhood.
Al Ramiah, Ananthi, and Miles Hewstone. “Discrimination: Conditions, Consequences, and ‘Cures.’” In The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Leonie Huddy, David O. Sears, and Jack S. Levy, 890–922. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
The influence of stereotyping on discriminatory behavior is discussed in this chapter.
Bauer, Nichole. “Gender Stereotyping in Political Decision-Making.” In Oxford Encyclopedia of Political Decision Making. Edited by David P. Redlawsk. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.
Overview of gender stereotyping in politics, especially the myriad ways that stereotyping is present during electoral campaigns.
Cassese, Erin C. “Intersectional Stereotyping.” In Oxford Encyclopedia of Political Decision Making. Edited by David P. Redlawsk. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.
Reviews scholarship that explores stereotyping at the intersection of two or more categories (such as gender and sexuality), including the influence of such stereotyping on voter evaluations and public opinion. Article opens with a comprehensive review of intersectionality theory.
Fiske, Susan T. “Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination.” In The Handbook of Social Psychology. 4th ed. Vol. 2. Edited by Daniel T. Gilbert, Susan T. Fiske, and Gardner Lindzey, 357–411. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998.
Reviews social psychological research, highlighting similarities and differences among the phenomena of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination.
Greenlee, Jill, Grace Deason, and Carrie Langner. “The Impact of Motherhood and Maternal Messages on Political Candidacies.” In The Political Psychology of Women in U.S. Politics. Edited by Angela L. Bos and Monica C. Schneider, 184–201. New York: Routledge, 2017.
Discusses work exploring motherhood, particularly stereotypes of mothers and the use and consequences of motherhood appeals, for both female and male candidates, on the campaign trail.
Judd, Charles M., and James W. Downing. “Stereotypic Accuracy in Judgments of the Political Positions of Groups and Individuals.” In Political Judgment: Structure and Process. Edited by Milton Lodge and Kathleen M. McGraw, 65–89. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.
Reviews political judgments that are especially susceptible to stereotypic thinking, particularly the accuracy of relying on stereotypes to infer issue positions.
Kinder, Donald R. “Prejudice and Politics.” In The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology. 2d ed. Edited by Leonie Huddy, David O. Sears, and Jack S. Levy, 812–851. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Embedded in this synopsis of prejudice in the political domain is a discussion of stereotyping as a variety of prejudice.
Sanbonmatsu, Kira, and Kathleen Dolan. “Gender Stereotypes and Gender Preferences in American Politics.” In Improving Public Opinion Surveys: Interdisciplinary Innovation and the American National Election Studies. Edited by John H. Aldrich and Kathleen M. McGraw, 260–277. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012.
This chapter reviews the gender stereotyping literature, particularly work that focuses on the electoral consequences of stereotyping. New American National Election Study survey items designed to measure gender stereotyping and related attitudes are also discussed.
Schneider, Monica, Angela Bos, and Heather Weiss. “Measuring Stereotypes in the Political Domain.” In Oxford Encyclopedia of Political Decision Making. Edited by David P. Redlawsk. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.
Comprehensive review of how scholars have measured stereotype content and activation, including a discussion of strengths and weaknesses of various measurement approaches.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Advanced Democracies, Electoral System Reform in
- Advanced Democracies, Public Opinion and Public Policy in
- Advertising and Election Campaigns in the United States
- Africa, Comparative Politics of
- Africa, Public Opinion in
- Africa, Women’s Political Representation in
- African Development, Politics of
- American Indian Politics
- Ancient Chinese Political Thought
- Arab Spring, The
- Arab-Israel Conflict, The
- Arendt, Hannah
- Argentine Government and Politics
- Aristotle's Political Thought
- Arms Race Modeling
- Asia, Water Politics in
- Asian American Mobilization and Political Identities
- Australia and New Zealand, Comparative Politics of
- Authoritarian Regimes, Lawyers in
- Authoritarianism in Russia
- Authoritarianism in the Public
- Authoritarianism in Turkey
- Bicameralism in Stable Democracies
- Big Data in Political Science Research
- Biopolitics and State Regulation of Human Life
- Birthright Citizenship
- Brazilian Foreign Policy
- Brazilian Political Development
- Brexit, British Politics, and European Integration
- Business-State Relations in Europe
- Campaign Finance in the Era of Super-PACS
- Canadian Foreign Policy
- Candidate Emergence and Recruitment
- Caribbean, Elections and Democracy in the
- Celebrities in US Politics
- Channels of Electoral Representation in Advanced Industria...
- China, Political Economy of
- China's One-Child Policy
- China-Taiwan Relations
- Chinese Communist Party
- Chinese Economic Policy
- Chinese Nationalism
- Civil Society in South Asia
- Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Civil-Military Relations in Asia
- Civil-Military Relations in Latin America
- Class in American Politics
- Climate Change and Politics
- Collective Memory
- Comparative Capitalism Theory
- Comparative Industrial Relations in Europe
- Comparative Political Economy of Resource Extraction
- Comparative Politics of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bis...
- Comparative Politics of Chile and Uruguay
- Comparative Politics of Federalism
- Comparative Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
- Computational Social Science
- Congress, Defense, and Foreign Policy
- Congressional Reassertion of Authority
- Conservative Litigation Strategies and Groups in US Judici...
- Constitutional Politics in Asia
- Corruption in China
- Cosmopolitan Political Thought
- Crisis of European Integration in Historical Perspective, ...
- Critical Elections, Partisan Realignment, and Long-Term El...
- Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School
- Cuban Political Development
- Cycles of Protest
- Democracy and Authoritarianism, Empirical Indicators of
- Democracy and Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Democracy and Dictatorship in Central Asia
- Democracy and Minority Language Recognition
- Democracy in Latin America
- Democratic Citizenship
- Democratic Consolidation
- Democratic Peace Theory
- Democratic Theory
- Democratization in Africa
- Democratization in Central America
- Democratization in Mexico
- Democratization in the Muslim World
- Development of Survey Research
- Diasporas and Politics
- Direct Democracy in the United States
- Dual Citizenship
- East Africa, Politics of
- East and Southeast Asia, Political Party Systems in
- East and Southeast Asia, Women and Politics in
- East Asia, Civil Society and Social Movements in
- Economic Voting
- Effects of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks on American Public O...
- Election Forecasting
- Election Laws in Democracies
- Election Observation and the Detection of Fraud
- Electoral and Party System Development in Sub-Saharan Afri...
- Electoral Assistance
- Electoral Change in Latin America
- Electoral Institutions and Women’s Representation
- Electoral Reform and Voting in the United States
- Electoral Volatility in the New Democracies of Latin Ameri...
- Electronic Voting Systems
- Emotion and Racial Attitudes in Contemporary American Poli...
- Environmental Governance
- Environmental Politics among Advanced Industrial Democraci...
- Ethnic Diasporas and US Foreign Policy
- Ethnic Politics
- Eurasia, Comparative Politics of
- European Parliament, The
- European Social Democracy
- European Union, Politics of the
- Extension of Voting Rights to Emigrants
- Failed and Weak States in Theory and Practice
- Far-Right Parties in Europe
- Federalism in the United States
- Feminist Political Thought
- Field Experiments
- Filibuster, The
- Framing Effects in Political Communication
- Gender and Electoral Politics in the United States
- Gender and International Relations
- Gender and Political Violence
- Gender and Politics in South Asia
- Gender, Behavior, and Representation
- Gender Gap in US Public Opinion
- Gender Stereotypes in Politics
- Genetic Underpinnings of Political Attitudes and Behaviors
- German Politics and Government
- Global Inequality
- Globalization and the Welfare State
- Globalization, Health Crises, and Health Care
- Governance in Africa
- Governmental Responses to Political Corruption
- Gridlock and Divided Government in the U.S.
- Health-Care Politics in the United States
- Historiography of Twentieth-Century American Conservatism,...
- Hobbes’s Political Thought
- Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of
- Hume’s Political Thought
- Hybrid Regimes
- Ideal Point Estimation
- Identity and Political Behavior
- Ideological Reasoning in Politics
- Illiberal Democracies and Democratic Backsliding
- Immigrant Incorporation in Canada
- Immigrant Incorporation in Western Europe
- Immigration and European Politics
- Immigration and International Relations
- Immigration Politics and Policy in the United States
- Impact of Campaign Contributions on Congressional Behavior...
- Impact of C-SPAN on US Democracy
- Implicit Attitudes in Public Opinion
- Income Dynamics and Politics in North America and Europe
- Income Inequality and Advanced Democracies
- Income Inequality in the United States, The Politics of
- Independent Voters, The Study of
- Indian Democracy
- Indigenous Politics and Representation in Latin America
- Indigenous Rights and Governance in Canada, Australia, and...
- Indonesia, Politics of
- Informal Practices of Accountability in Urban Africa
- Institutional Change in Advanced Democracies
- Institutional Factors Affecting Women’s Political Engageme...
- Intellectual Property in International Relations
- Interest Groups and Inequality in the United States
- Interest Groups in American Politics
- Interethnic Contact and Impact on Attitudes
- International Conflict Management
- International Criminal Justice
- International Law
- International NGOs
- International Political Economy of Illegal Drugs
- Internet and Politics, The
- Intersectionality in Political Science
- Interstate Border Dispute Management in the Indo-Pacific
- Iran, Political Development of
- Israeli Politics
- Italian Politics and Government
- Judicial Supremacy and National Judicial Review
- Judiciaries and Politics in East Asia
- Kant's Political Thought
- Labor Migration: Dynamics and Politics
- Labor Politics in East Asia
- Land Reform in Latin America
- Latin America, Democratic Transitions in
- Latin America, Electoral Reform in
- Latin America, Environmental Policy and Politics in
- Latin America, Guerrilla Insurgencies in
- Latin America, Social Movements in
- Legal Mobilization
- LGBT Politics in the United States
- Liberal Pluralism
- Local Governments in the United States
- Machiavelli’s Political Thought
- Malaysian Politics and Government
- Marx's Political Thought
- Mass Incarceration and US Politics
- Mechanisms of Representation
- Media Effects in Politics
- Media Politics in South Asia
- Mexican Political Development
- Minority Governments
- Minority Political Engagement and Representation in the Un...
- Mixed-Member Electoral Systems
- Modern Dynastic Rule
- Modern Elections and Voting Behavior in Europe
- Motivated Reasoning
- Narrative Analysis
- National Interbranch Politics in the United States
- NATO, Politics of
- Negative Campaigning
- Neoclassical Realism
- New Institutionalism Revisited, The
- North America, Comparative Politics of
- Oil, Politics of
- Online Public Opinion Polling
- Organized Criminal Syndicates and Governance in Mexico and...
- Origins and Impact of Proportional Representation, The
- Outcomes of Social Movements and Protest Activities
- Partisan and Nonpartisan Theories of Organization in the U...
- Partisan Polarization in the US Congress
- Partisan Polarization in the US Electorate
- Party Networks
- Party System Institutionalization in Democracies
- Peace Operations
- Personality and Politics
- Personalization of Politics
- Plato’s Political Thought
- Policy Feedback
- Policy Responsiveness to Public Opinion
- Political Ambition
- Political Economy of Financial Regulation in Advanced Ind...
- Political Economy of India
- Political Economy of Taxation, The
- Political Geography in American Politics
- Political Humor and Its Effects
- Political Institutions and the Policymaking Process in Lat...
- Political Obligation
- Political Parties and Electoral Politics of Japan
- Political Roles and Activities of Former Presidents and Pr...
- Political Thought, Hegel's
- Political Thought of the American Founders, The
- Politics and Policy in Contemporary Argentina
- Politics, Gender Quotas in
- Politics of Anti-Americanism
- Politics of Class Formation
- Politics of Disaster Prevention and Management
- Politics of Ethnic Identity in China
- Politics of Financial Crises
- Politics of Foreign Direct Investment in South Asia
- Politics of Higher Education in the U.S.
- Politics of Internal Conquest in the United States and Can...
- Politics of Japan
- Politics of Natural Disasters, The
- Politics of North Korea
- Politics of Science and Technology
- Politics of South Africa
- Politics of Southern Africa
- Politics of the American South
- Politics of the Philippines: From Rizal to Duterte
- Politics of the US-Mexico Border
- Populism in Latin America
- Positive and Negative Partisanship
- Postcolonial Political Theory
- Postcolonialism and International Relations
- Post-Communist Democratization
- Preferential Trade Agreements, Politics of
- Presidential Candidate Selection in Comparative Perspectiv...
- Presidential Persuasion and Public Opinion
- Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
- Private Governance
- Protest Participation
- Public Opinion in Affluent Democracies
- Public Opinion in Europe toward the European Union
- Public Opinion in New Democracies and Developing Nations
- Public Opinion on Immigration
- Public Opinion toward the Environment and Climate Change i...
- Public Presidency, US Elections, and the Permanent Campaig...
- Qualitative Methods, The Renewal of
- Race in American Political Thought
- Racial and Ethnic Descriptive Representation in the United...
- Recruitment and Selection for Elected Office
- Redistricting and Electoral Competition in American Politi...
- Referendums and Direct Democracy
- Regime Transitions and Variation in Post-Communist Europe
- Regional Integration
- Regional Integration in Latin America
- Regional Security
- Regulating Food Production
- Religion and Politics in Latin America
- Religion in American Political Thought
- Religion in Contemporary Political Thought
- Religion, Politics, and Civic Engagement in the United Sta...
- Rousseau’s Political Thought
- Rule of Law
- Russia and the West
- Science and Democracy
- Science and Social Movements
- Secession and Secessionist Movements
- Semi-Presidential Systems
- Social Networks, Mass Publics, and Democratic Politics
- Social Policy and Immigrant Integration
- South Asian Political Thought
- South Korea, Politics of
- Southeast Asian Politics
- Spectacle, The
- Sport and Politics
- State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa
- State Formation
- State, The Nature of the
- State-Society Relations in South Asia
- Stereotypes in Political Reasoning
- Supreme Court and Public Opinion
- Supreme Court of the United States, The
- Systemic Theories of International Politics
- Taiwan, Politics of
- Tea Party, The
- Thailand, Politics of
- The Crisis of European Integration in Historical Perspecti...
- The New Right in American Political Thought
- The Politics of Parenthood: Attitudes, Behavior, Policy, a...
- The Politics of Waste and Social Inequalities in Indian Ci...
- Third-Party Politics in the United States
- Tocqueville’s Political Thought
- Transboundary Pollution
- Transitional Justice
- Transnational Private Regulation
- Trust in Latin American Governing Institutions
- Turkey, Political Development of
- US Military Bases Abroad
- US Politics, Neoliberalism in
- US Presidency, The
- US Presidential Campaigns and Their Impact
- Venezuela, The Path Toward Authoritarianism in
- Voter Support for Women Candidates
- Voter Turnout
- Voter Turnout Field Experiments
- Voting Technology and Election Administration in the Unite...
- Welfare State Development
- Welfare State Development in Latin America
- Welfare State Development in Western Europe
- West Africa, Politics of
- White Identity Politics
- Women and Conflict Studies
- Women’s Inclusion in Executive Cabinets
- Women’s Legal and Constitutional Rights
- Women’s Political Activism and Civic Engagement in Latin A...
- Women’s Representation in Governmental Office in Latin Ame...
- Women’s Representation in the Middle East and North Africa
- Workers’ Politics in China
- Youth and Generational Differences in US Politics