MA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science


Stephenson, Laura


The aim of this literature review will attempt to identify and establish a series of research avenues from the existing publications related to the study of authoritarianism that could be used to prepare the reader and researchers to identify the causal pathways that have led to the resurgence of latent racist attitudes among young white men in recent years. The first section of this paper will explore the historical origins of the study of authoritarian personality types through the work of Adorno, while paying close attention to the development of authoritarian attitudes rooted in early childhood experiences. The second section of this review will examine the evolution of the study of authoritarian personality types, and the newly established measures of right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation crafted by Altemeyer, along with Sidanius and Pratto. This section will closely examine recent discoveries that have connected the central tenets of RWA and SDO to racial prejudice and anti-egalitarian attitudes, and how a combination of these measures can be reliably operationalized for the purposes of identifying authoritarian attitudes among young men today. The third portion of this review will explore the role of racialization in American policy decision-making, and the overlap between racist attitudes, RWA and SDO through the works of Huddy and Feldman, Tesler, and Hetherington and Weiler.