M. Kent Jennings

Jennings Photo
Distinguished Professor Emeritus

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Ellison 3806


American Politics, Political Socialization, Public Opinion and Political Participation, Methodology

Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1961


Jennings, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science, joined the department in 1981. Before that he was a member of the Political Science Department and the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan from 1963-81 and was earlier affiliated with the Brookings Institution.  From 1984 to 1996, he held joint faculty appointments at both UC Santa Barbara and the University of Michigan.  Jennings has been a Visiting Scholar or Professor at the University of Oregon, Tilburg University (the Netherlands), University of California, Los Angeles, and Arizona State University, where he was the first Barry Goldwater Professor of American Institutions.  In addition to having been a Guggenheim Fellow he was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

Jennings was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1982.  He served as President of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP) in 1989-90 and as President of the American Political Science Association in 1997-98.  His awards include “mentor of distinction” from The (National) Women's Caucus for Political Science, 1989, 2002; the Warren E. Miller Award for “meritorious service to the social sciences” from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, 2007; and the Harold Lasswell Award for "distinguished scientific contribution in the field of political psychology” from ISPP, 2014.  His publications include being the author or co-author of Community Influentials (Free Press of Glencoe, 1964), The Image of the Federal Service (Brookings Institution, 1964); Governing American Schools (Duxbury, 1974), The Political Character of Adolescence (Princeton University Press, 1974), Generations and Politics (Princeton University Press, 1981), Parties in Transition (Russell Sage Foundation, 1986), and Continuities in Political Action (W. de Gruyter, 1990). His current research concerns the longitudinal analyses of political orientations, gender and politics, and mass public opinion and participation in varying contexts.


“The Formation of Left-Right Identification: Pathways and Correlates of Parental Influence” (with Guillem Rico), Political Psychology, 37 (April 2016), 237-52.

“The Dynamics of Good Citizenship Norms,” in Thomas Poguntke, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, and Sonja Zmerli (eds.), Citizenship and Democracy in an Era of Crisis. Oxon: 2015, pp. 93-111.

“Familial Origins of Gender Role Attitudes” (with Nicole Filler), Politics and Gender, 11 (March 2015), 27-54.

“The Intergenerational Transmission of Contending Place Identities” (with Guillem Rico), Political Psychology, 33(October 2012), 723-42.

"Politics Across Generations: Family Transmission Reexamined" (with Laura Stoker and Jake Bowers), Journal of Politics 71 (July 2009), 782-99.

"Of Time and the Development of Partisan Polarization" (with Laura Stoker), American Journal of Political Science 52 (July 2008): 619-35

"Perceptions of Injustice in the Chinese Countryside" (with Kuang-hui Chen), Journal of Contemporary China 17 (May 2008): 319-37.