Amartya Sen, Thomas W. Lamont Professor at Harvard University, wins the 23rd Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. Sen is awarded the Prize for his multifaceted achievement that “combines insights into human vulnerability with knowledge about the potential of democratic political power to redress and relieve this deprivation.”
Sen, who originates from West Bengal, has spent most of his professional career at Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, all while retaining an affiliation with Delhi University in his native India. In 1998, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and he has used the award to start the Pratichi Trust in India and Bangladesh that works to improve women’s access to education and health care.
Sen is an economist by training but his conviction that democratic institutions play a fundamental role in making a difference in people’s lives makes him a worthy recipient of this highly esteemed Prize in Political Science. His notable scholarly works include Poverty and Famines (1981) where he explores the link between famine and lack of democracy and highlights the crucial role democracy plays in alievating extreme poverty. In Development as Freedom (1999), he argues that political, social and economic freedoms are both the means and the ends of development. He sees development not only in one’s material wellbeing but also one’s ability to make free choices and act independently on them. In his 2009 book, The Idea of Justice, Sen addresses questions of how justice may be increased or how injustices may be removed, rather than offering resolutions of questions about the nature of perfect justice. Sen’s contribution spans the fields of political economy, social choice theory, public health, political philosophy, as well as the sub-discipline of development studies.
The 2017 Prize will be awarded at a traditional ceremony which will take place in Uppsala on September 30, 2017. The ceremony will be accompanied by Prize winner lecture open to the wide public. More information on how to secure a free ticket to this event will be posted on this page.
Click here to access the official Prize award announcement article penned by the chairperson of the Skytte Prize Committee, Li Bennich-Björkman, and featured in the Swedish daily newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet. An English translation of the article can be found here.
To read the official press release issued by Uppsala University, click here for an English version and here for the Swedish one.
We welcome you to continue submitting online nominations through our nomination form, which is open all year round. Nominations submitted until January 15, 2018 will be considered for the 2018 Johan Skytte Prize. Make sure to nominate your favourite if he/she has not received the Prize yet.
Should you have any questions, contact our Information Officer at email@example.com and do not forget to “like” the Prize on Facebook!
The 2016 Johan Skytte Prize was awarded to Professor Jon Elster, Robert K. Merton Professor in Social Sciences at Columbia University and titular professor at College de France, Paris. The Norwegian-born Elster received the Prize for “incisive, penetrating, and unceasing drive to examine and reexamine that which explains human behavior.”
Ever since his dissertation on Karl Marx at Sorbonne which he defended in 1971, Elster has committed his scholarly effort to trying to understand what it is that makes people act the way they do. ‘How can the way we think, our collective power and our emotions explain our actions?’ – this is the question that for long stood at the forefront of his scholarly endeavour. Over 5 decades, Elster has urged political scientists to seriously consider the meanings of rationality, irrationality, social norms and significance of feelings within their research and has thus immeasurably enriched and broadened the discipline. Elster’s independent intellectual journey, where both bold guesses and self-criticism were indivisible companions, serves as one of the most inspirational examples of boundless curiosity within Political Science.
The Prize was awarded at a ceremony on October 1, 2016. The ceremony was, as per custom, be accompanied by a prize-winners’ lecture. To read more about the 2016 ceremony, click here
Read the traditional Prize winner announcement featured in Svenska Dagbladet on April 8. The article entitled: "Rationella val rena rama science fiction" is available in Swedish. Click here for an English version.
Click here to read the press release issued by Uppsala University on Jon Elster receiving the Prize (in Swedish). Click here for the press release in English.
Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University, was awarded the 2015 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science for “breath-taking learnedness, clarity and courage thrown new light over the growth of modern political order.”
The Johan Skytte Prize was awarded for the 21st time by the Skytte Foundation at Uppsala University in a ceremony which took place on 3 October 2015.
Starting in early China centuries before Christ, Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order (2011) and Political Order and Political Decay (2014) elaborate on the various forms of political order and origins of decay in the great civilizations of China, India, the Middle East, and the Arab world. Europe and the United States is thus one of several civilizations, but one where the crucial components of order; a central state, rule of law and accountable government, have coincided.
– In a remarkable tour de force, Fukuyama in two volumes covers the human strive for political organization, an organization that can secure the survival of the ‘herd’ both physically and materially, says Li Bennich-Björkman, Johan Skytte professor in eloquence and political science and chair of the Prize Committee.
Read the prize announcement (in Swedish) traditionally published in the Svenska Dagbladet daily. "Politiken blir inte bättre än i Danmark" (in Swedish)
Read an article about the prize winner (in Swedish) featured in a local daily Upsala Nya Tidning. "Han får Skytteanska priset" (in Swedish)
Uppsala University's Press Release (in English)
David Collier is the recipient of the 2014 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. He received the prize for “his contribution to the conceptual development and the re-thinking of qualitative methods in Political Science”. The ceremony took place on September 27, 2014 in Uppsala.
David Collier's thorough empirical research on Latin-American political pathways, his theoretical development of theories on critical junctures and legacies, in combination with his energetic re-thinking of the position of qualitative methods in the discipline, makes him a political scientist of great importance to contemporary political science.
The most distinguished expression of David Collier's comparative political science research is his work Shaping the Political Arena. Critical Junctures, the Labor Movement and Regime Dynamic in Latin America, which he wrote together with his wife Ruth Berins Collier, she too professor of Political Science at Berkeley. The study revolves around paired comaprisons of eight Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela. It was their interest in how certain periods in the history of a state become so-called critical junctures, in the meaning that choices that are made during these periods also pave the way for future developments, that got the couple to write the book. A more recent work that expresses Collier's methodological thinking is Rethinking Social Inquiry. Diverse Tools, Shared Standards (co-edited with Henry Brady).
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Mot en mänskligare statskunskap" (in Swedish)
Uppsala University's Press Release (in English)
Professor Robert Axelrod at Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, was the winner of the 2013 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. He was awarded the prize for “profoundly having changed our presumptions about the preconditions for human cooperation”.
This was the 19th award of the Skytte Prize by the Skytte Foundation. The ceremony took place in Uppsala on September 28, 2013. Robert Axelrod’s most cited and famous book “The Evolution of Cooperation” came out in 1984, preceded by a prize-winning article in Science 1981 co-authored together with biologist William D. Hamilton. The fundamental question of under which conditions cooperation and not conflict could become a beneficial strategy when self-interest is the individually driving force is at the centre of Robert Axelrod’s works. He shows that for reciprocity to develop, durable and long-term relations of an infinite nature are determinant.
Robert Axelrod has opened new research frontiers through his work and contributed to form political science, economics, sociology, anthropology, biology and computer science. His conclusions are decisive for improving our understanding of international relations, negotiations, complex organisations, and political decision-making bodies.
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Godhet är en lönsam strategi" (in Swedish)
Extend a hand, but do not turn the other cheek (in English)
Carole Pateman, political philosopher at the University of California (UCLA) won the Skytte Prize for "in a thought-provoking way challenging established ideas about participation, sex and equality".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Politisk filosof visar oss dolda strukturer" (in Swedish)
(Lecture in English)
Ronald Inglehart, professor in sociology at the University of Michigan and Pippa Norris, professor in political science at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, received a joint Prize "for contributing innovative ideas about the relevance and roots of political culture in a global context, transcending previous mainstream approaches of research".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Medborgarnas engagemang ger ljus framtid" (in Swedish)
Optimists about the future of civic spirit (In english)
Adam Przeworski, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor in New York University’s Wilf Family Department of Politics, was awarded the Skytte Prize for "essentially raising the scientific standards regarding the analysis of the relations between democracy, capitalism and economic development".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Välfärd leder inte automatiskt till demokrati" (in Swedish)
A lunch in Warsaw was the beginning of a brilliant career (In english)
Philippe C. Schmitter, professor emeritus at European University Institute (EUI), Florence, Italy, was awarded the Skytte Prize "for his path-breaking work on the role of corporatism in modern democracies, and for his stimulating and innovative analysis of democratization."
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Ett antikvariat i Rio de Janeiro hade svaret" (in Swedish)
“Mr. Corporatism” awarded “Nobel Prize of Political Science” (In english)
Rein Taagepera, University of California at Irvine and Tartu University, Estonia, "for his profound analysis of the function of electoral systems in representative democracy".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Ingenjör i tjänst för demokratin" (in Swedish)
Theda Skocpol, Harvard University, USA, "for her visionary analysis of the significance of the state for revolutions, welfare and poltical trust, pursued withy theoretical depth and empirical evidence.".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Skocpol går till botten med staten" (in Swedish)
Robert Putnam, Harvard University, USA, "for his theory of the social capital."
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Det sociala kapitalet och dess sönderfall" (in Swedish)
Robert Keohane, Princeton University, USA, "for his significant contribution to our understanding of world politics in an era of interdependence, globalisation and terrorism."
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Världen som en arena för samarbeten " (in Swedish)
Jean Blondel, professor, European University Institute, Florence, "for his outstanding contribution to the professionalisation of European political science, both as a pioneering comparativist and an institution builder""
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Blondel har gett statsvetenskap större tyngd" (in Swedish)
Hanna Pitkin, professor, Berkeley, "for her pathbreaking theoretical work, predominantly on the problem of representation."
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Vad representerar representanten?" (in Swedish)
Recommended reading: "The Concept of Representation." University of California Press 1967.
Sidney Verba, professor, Harvard University, "for his penetrating empirical analysis of political participation and its significance for the functioning of democracy".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Rika barn rösta mest" (in Swedish)
Brian Barry, professor, Columbia University, New York, "for his profound contribution to normative political theory performed with passion as well as clarity in the grand tradition from the Enlightenment".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Brian Barry ser opartiskhet som politiskt ideal" (in Swedish)
Fritz W. Scharpf, professor, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany, "for having analysed key concepts of political science with theoretical clarity and empirical thoroughness during an era of transnational change".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Federalism är inte lösningen" (in Swedish)
Elinor Ostrom, professor, Indiana University, USA, "for her profound, empirical as well as theoretical, analysis of the nature of collective action and rational choice".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Samarbete är inte gratis " (in Swedish)
Alexander George (1920-2006), professor at Stanford University, USA received the prize "for his pathbreaking analysis of statecraft, its possibilities and limits, performed with great sensitivity for the importance of judgement, reasoned argumentation and responsible leadership in foreign policy decision-making".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Hur man undviker krig" (in Swedish)
Arend Lijphart, born 1936, professor, University of California, USA "for his theoretically and empirically pathbreaking research on the function of consensus in democratic politics in divided as well as in homogeneous societies".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Allas styrelse, inte majoritetens" (in Swedish)
Juan J. Linz (1926-2013), Yale University. Professor Linz won the Prize "for his global investigation of the fragility of democracy in the face of the authoritarian threat, characterized by methodological versatility and historical and sociological breadth".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Samhällen i övergångsåldern" (in Swedish)
Robert A. Dahl (1915-2014), Yale University. Professor Dahl won the Prize "for his penetrating analysis of democratic theory, characterized by deep learning and breadth of mind, combined with epochal empirical studies of the actual functioning of representative government".
The prize winner presentation to a broader public in Svenska Dagbladet: "Eliternas tävlan om folket" (in Swedish)
Be advised that we accept nominations for the Johan Skytte Prize all year round. We, however, only consider those we receive by January 15 each year for that year’s Prize. The prize winner is announced in early April every year.
For detailed description of what is required for a good nomination, click HERE.
Should you have any questions about the nomination process, contact Michal Smrek at firstname.lastname@example.org
The festive Prize Award Ceremony takes place at Uppsala University where Johan Skytte was once a chancellor. The ceremony by custom takes place on the last weekend before October 1, the date when Johan Skytte donated considerable funds to Uppsala University to found a professor’s chair in Political Science and Eloquence in 1622.
The festivities that traditionally combine academic and social events start on Friday with an academic seminar at the Department of Government, Uppsala University. In the evening, the Skytte Foundation hosts a dinner for the Prize Winner, the Prize Committee and the previous holder(s) of the Johan Skytte Professorship in Political Science.
Saturday is the main celebration day, starting in the afternoon with a wrath-laying ceremony at the tomb of Johan Skytte in Uppsala Cathedral accompanied by music composed specially for this occasion by the famous musician and director of Uppsala University orchestra, Ulf Johansson Werre. Thereafter the Prize Winner gives the Prize Award Lecture (Johan Skytte Lecture). This event is open to the public and traditionally held at the University Main Building. The lecture is followed by the Skytte Banquet, a formal dinner at one of the student nations where around 150 invited guests, including royals and other notable public figures, gather for celebrations. At the banquet, the Prize Winner is presented with a medal and portrait.
The festivities come to an end on Sunday with an excursion organised by the Skytte Foundation and lead by the patron of the Foundation, Count Nils-Axel Mörner. The excursion pays homage to Johan Skytte and the highlight of it is a visit to the beautiful Grönsöö Castle by lake Mälaren built by Johan Skytte himself. Today, the Von Ehrenheim family inhabits the castle.
Representatives of the media are welcome to attend every event of the official programme provided that they register their interest with our Information Officer, Michal Smrek at email@example.com. Michal will also assist the media to schedule an interview with the Prize Winner if requested.
Skytte Manuscript Workshop is an annual scholarly event inspired by Johan Skytte’s legacy in facilitating the progress of Political Science. The event gathers a group of prominent Swedish and international researchers for a three-day workshop the aim of which is to discuss a manuscript that aims to significantly contribute to the field of Political Science. This gives the authors an immense opportunity to gather valuable feedback from experts in their field and improve their manuscripts before publication.
Every year the chairman of the Skytte Prize Committee appoints a workshop coordinator most commonly from among the faculty of the Department of Government, Uppsala University, who is in charge of selecting a suitable manuscript and organising the workshop. The workshop usually takes place at the same time as the Skytte Prize award ceremony which is held in late September every year.
Over the years, a number of well-cited publications that benefited from the workshop have been published. These include One Illness Away (Oxford University Press, 2011) by Anirudh Krishna, What’s Wrong with the WTO and How to Fix It (Polity, 2014) by Rorden Wilkinson, Patronal Politics: Eurasian Regime Dynamics in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014) by Henry Hale, Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights (Oxford University Press, 2015) by Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Terra Lawson-Remer and Susan Randolph and Communism’s Shadow: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Political Attitudes (Princeton University Press, 2017) by Grigore Pop-Eleches and Joshua A. Tucker.
The foundation covers the travel tickets and board for all participants who are in part selected by the authors of the manuscript and part by the workshop coordinator. Our aim is to host one workshop annually if resources permit. Should you be interested in taking part in the workshop as an author of a manuscript or workshop coordinator, contact Michal Smrek.
In 1622, Johan Skytte donated a considerable sum to Uppsala University to found a professorship in Political Science and Eloquence. Johan Skytte, by then a leading statesman within the Swedish Realm and vice-chancellor of Uppsala University, believed that while Sweden usually excelled at the field of battle, she tended to underperform at the negotiation table, something Johan Skytte was determined the new chair at Uppsala University could help to change. Over the years, the donation that was intended to be independent has become part of Uppsala University’s collective assets and funds. In 1979, the patron of the Skytte Foundation, Count Nils-Axel Mörner, demanded and campaigned for the restoration of an independent Foundation that would guard Johan Skytte’s assets. This request was granted and the Skytte Foundation began its new chapter.
The restoration of Foundation’s independence saw a considerable amount of funds and assets returned under the management of the Foundation. The newly appointed board agreed that the money should be used in a wise and constructive manner, and – in one way or another, in memory of Johan Skytte. In 1994, the idea of a Prize in Political Science was born, a brainchild of the patron of the Foundation, Nils-Axel Mörner and then Johan Skytte Professor, Leif Lewin. From 1994 until today, 22 prominent Political Scientists have been awarded the Prize that marks most remarkable achievements within the field of Political Science. The Prize grew in prestige over the years and has been likened to the Nobel Prizes in terms of importance and role model potential.
In addition to the Skytte Prize, the Foundation runs its own publishing house. Its most recent publication is an excellent resource mapping the histories of Johan Skytte, his donation and 20 Skytte Prize Winners. The publication authored by Nils-Axel Mörner and Li Bennich-Björkman marks the 20th anniversary of the Skytte Prize. The book is free of charge and you can download it here or request in writing to Michal Smrek. The Foundation also sponsors various academic events.
In preparations for the 400th anniversary of the Foundation in 2022, the Foundation unveiled a new logo and launched a new website. It will also gradually expand its activities to include, among others, a Youth Johan Skytte Prize for young scientists.
The Foundation is governed by a 6-strong board, including the patron, Count Nils-Axel Mörner, current Skytte Professor of Political Science, Li Bennich-Björkman, vice-chancellor of Uppsala University, Eva Åkesson, treasurer Anders Barth, secretary Jonas Mörner and economist Jacob Lagercrantz. The board is assisted by information officer, Michal Smrek, who takes care of the website, nominations and public relations; and master of ceremonies, Åsa Viksten Strömbom, responsible for the banquet and all the festivities.
Johan Skytte, born to a middle-class merchant and mayor of a small Swedish town, quickly rose through the echelons of power to become one of the most influential Swedish statesmen of the 17th Century. He obtained his Master’s degree from Marburg University in Germany and went on to become a tutor of the Crown Prince, at that time a remarkable honour for someone with a middle-class background. He was swiftly promoted to join the ranks of the nobles and served as a councilor to the Crown on many occasions.
During Skytte’s life, Sweden emerged as a great power, and it thus became of fundamental importance to improve her educational system. On this front, Skytte came to play a central role. He was a deeply learned person, a master in eloquence and a person of great interest and skill in didactics and made it his personal mission to improve the Swedish educational system. In 1622, he was appointed vice-chancellor of Uppsala University, an institutions he helped to modernise. The same year, he donated a considerable sum to the University to set up a professorship in Political Science and Eloquence in a belief that teaching these in concord would help Sweden further her political power. His educational technique was built on inspiration rather than demands, which was very progressive for the period.
In 1629, Johan Skytte was appointed Governor General of the Baltic provinces of Livonia and Karelia and continued with his educational mission there. In 1631, he helped to establish and later chair the University of Tartu, which became the second oldest University in Sweden.
Johan Skytte’s involvement in education was not only limited to University level. He also helped to or directly established several ordinary schools, for instance a school in Lycksele in Northern Sweden in 1631 or the first rural school in Sweden in Ålem in 1637. The Royal Skytte Society in Umeå, established in 1956, was named after Johan Skytte in appreciation of his impact on education in the northern parts of Sweden.
The Johan Skytte Foundation aims to preserve and further the educational legacy of Johan Skytte. The Johan Skytte Prize aspires to identify the most valuable contributions to Political Science and thus help to further the discipline and encourage innovative research within the field.
Address: Skytteanum, Valvgatan 4, 753 10 Uppsala, Sweden
Telephone: 0046 700664926. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org