The ideal mayor seen through the eyes of children: a Belgian case study in persception politics
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Politics, culture & socialization. - Leverkusen
, p. 177-193
University of Antwerp
This article is a first step in the theory building of childrens political impression formation, a practically virgin territory. It argues that childrens perception of political demeanour contains more outspoken and stereotypical characteristics then the determinants that are found for adults. This Belgian case argues that children can provide us with a considerable amount of objective and innocent information when it comes to the determinants of political demeanour. Two empirical studies centred around the childrens ideal mayor reveal how childrens political impressions emerge. The first one is a survey in which two hundred drawings by children ranging from two and a half to fifteen years were collected and analyzed. In the second one, an art experiment, children composed with various materials the face of their ideal mayor. It can be concluded from both studies that whereas the male mayor confirms the traditional and formal stereotype of the mayor, his female colleague emerges as a colourful, modern woman.