400 years of political science in Uppsala

The Johan Skytte donation which helped to found both the Johan Skytte chair in Eloquence and Political Science and, more recently, the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science celebrates its 400th anniversary on October 1, 2022. To mark this occasion, we are organizing a number of events open to the general public.

On September 30, Robert E. Goodin, recipient of the 2022 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science will hold his prize winner lecture. The event will be held in Brusewitz Hall and commences at 15:00. More information can be found here. Do not miss the jubilee ceremony on October 1 in which we revisit the big political issues that resonated in society at the time the donation was made as well as those that shape it today. The three most recent Skytte prize winner and Li Bennich-Björkman, the current and 21st holder of the Johan Skytte chair are among the speakers. The event will be held in the University Grand Auditorium and commences at 14:45. More information can be found here.

Prize winners over the years

Robert E. Goodin

For several works over decades in which he “with acuity and success endeavored to blend political philosophy with empirical political science to increase the understanding of how decent and dignified societies can be shaped.”

David D. Laitin

For his “original and objective explanation of how politics shapes cultural strategies in heterogeneous societies.”

Peter J. Katzenstein

For “furthering the understanding of how history, culture, and norms shape economies, as well as national and global security policy.”

Margaret Levi

For “having laid the foundations of our understanding of why citizens accept state coercion, by combining theoretical acumen and historical knowledge.”

Jane Mansbridge

For “having shaped our understanding of democracy in its direct and representative forms, with incisiveness, deep commitment and feminist theory.”

Amartya Sen

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.”

Jon Elster

For “incisive, penetrating, and unceasing drive to examine and reexamine that which explains human behavior.”

Francis Fukuyama

For “breath-taking learnedness, clarity and courage thrown new light over the growth of modern political order.”

David Collier

For “his contribution to the conceptual development and the re-thinking of qualitative methods in political science.”

Robert Axelrod

For “profoundly having changed our presumptions about the preconditions for human cooperation.”

Carole Pateman

For “in a thought-provoking way challenging established ideas about participation, sex and equality.”

Ronald Inglehart & Pippa Norris

For “contributing innovative ideas about the relevance and roots of political culture in a global context, transcending previous mainstream approaches of research.”

Adam Przeworski

For “raising the scientific standards regarding the analysis of the relations between democracy, capitalism and economic development.”

Philippe C. Schmitter

For “his path-breaking work on the role of corporatism in modern democracies, and for his stimulating and innovative analysis of democratization.”

Rein Taagepera

For “his profound analysis of the function of electoral systems in representative democracy.”

Theda Skocpol

For “her visionary analysis of the significance of the state for revolutions, welfare and poltical trust, pursued withy theoretical depth and empirical evidence.”

Robert Putnam

For “his theory of the social capital.”

Robert Keohane

For “his significant contribution to our understanding of world politics in an era of interdependence, globalisation and terrorism.”

Jean Blondel

For “his outstanding contribution to the professionalisation of European political science, both as a pioneering comparativist and an institution builder.”

Hanna Pitkin

For “her pathbreaking theoretical work, predominantly on the problem of representation.”

Sidney Verba

For “his penetrating empirical analysis of political participation and its significance for the functioning of democracy.”

Brian Barry

For “his profound contribution to normative political theory performed with passion as well as clarity in the grand tradition from the Enlightenment.”


For “having analysed key concepts of political science with theoretical clarity and empirical thoroughness during an era of transnational change.”

Elinor Ostrom

For “her profound, empirical as well as theoretical, analysis of the nature of collective action and rational choice.”

Alexander George

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.”


For “his theoretically and empirically pathbreaking research on the function of consensus in democratic politics in divided as well as in homogeneous societies.”

Juan J. Linz

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.”

Robert A. Dahl

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.”



Nominations for the 2023 Johan Skytte Prize can be submitted via this form until January 20, 2023. If your nomination was submitted correctly, you will receive a confirmation e-mail to the address provided by you. The nomination form is open all year round. To diversify our laureate pool, the Skytte Foundation particularly welcomes nominations for women and scholars belonging to academically underrepresented social groups. 

Nomination Instructions
1. A nomination can be submitted by a scholar or a group of scholars based at any instititution of higher learning (University, research institutions, academy of sciences). We also welcome nominations from doctoral students.
2. The nominations must be written in English and should contain no fewer than 500 words. There is no maximum word count provided that the nomination letter is kept at a reasonable length. In your nomination letter, you are asked to present a coherent argument for why you believe the nominee deserves to be rewarded the Johan Skytte Prize.
3. A nomination should also include a CV and publication list of the nominee included as attachments.
4. Self-nominations and post-humous nominations are not accepted.
5. The nominator can be a single person or a group of individuals. If the latter is the case, we urge you to write a joint nomination that you all sign rather than sending multiple nominations for the same nominee. Please note that joint nominations are treated in the same fashion as single-authored nomination letters: they do not ‘weigh more’.
6. The nominations are confidential and should not be shared with the nominee prior to or after their submission.
7. It is possible to nominate groups but note that joint prizes are rather uncommon. A joint Skytte prize has only been awarded on one occasion.
8. Nominations from previous years are kept on file and considered every year. Kindly re-submit your nomination only if you made substantial modifications to your nomination letter.
9. The nominations should ideally be submitted electronically via the online form found below. The form works in any browser but does not support draft saving. This is why we urge the nominators to prepare the nomination letter in a word-processing software and copy-paste the text into our online form once ready. If a form is submitted correctly you will get a message indicating that this is the case. You will also receive a confirmation e-mail to your e-mail address.

The Skytte Prize Committee is entirely dependent on receiving nominations from the wide scholarly community as individual committee members are not allowed to nominate. The time and effort you invest into writing the nomination is highly appreciated.

Selection Procedure
The laureate is chosen by the board of the Johan Skytte Foundation at the recommendation of the Skytte Prize Committee. The laureate is usually announced in early April on the pages of the Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Should you have any questions about the nomination process or experience technical difficulties, contact Michal Grahn at michal.grahn@statsvet.uu.se.

Nomination Form for the Johan Skytte Prize



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    The festive prize award ceremony takes place at Uppsala University where Johan Skytte served as a chancellor. The ceremony by custom takes place on the last weekend before October 1, the date when Johan Skytte donated land and property to Uppsala University in order to establish a professor chair in political science and eloquence in 1622.
    The festivities that traditionally combine academic and social events start on Friday with a lecture held at the Department of Government. In the evening, the Skytte Foundation hosts a dinner for the laureate, the Prize Committee and senior members of the Department of Government.
    Saturday is the main celebration day, starting in the afternoon with a wreath-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 laureate delivers 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 laureate is formally presented with a medal.
    The festivities come to an end on Sunday with an excursion organised by the Skytte Foundation and led 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 the lake Mälaren built by Johan Skytte himself. Today, the Von Ehrenheim family lives in the castle.
    Representatives of the media are welcome to attend every event of the official programme provided that they register their interest with our Master of Ceremonies, Michal Grahn at michal.grahn@statsvet.uu.se. Michal will also assist the media to schedule an interview with the prize winner if requested.

    Skytte Manuscript Workshop

    Skytte Manuscript Workshop is a near-annual scholarly event inspired by Johan Skytte’s legacy in facilitating progress in political science. The event gathers a group of Swedish and international researchers for a two- to three-day workshop the aim of which is to discuss a book manuscript which promises a significant contribution to the field of political science. The workshop provides the author(s) with a valuable opportunity to gather feedback and improve their manuscript before its publication.
    To strengthen the link between the Skytte Foundation and Department of Government in Uppsala, the author(s) of the manuscript who wish to organise a Skytte Manuscript Workshop need to team up with a researcher based at the Department of Government who will act as an academic coordinator for the workshop. The workshop participants are then selected in part by the academic coordinator and in part by the author(s) of the manuscript. Two doctoral students from the Department of Government are selected and invited to the workshop in the role of note-takers.
    The author(s) of the manuscript should not be based at or affiliated to the Department of Government in Uppsala. The applications are evaluated solely on the description of the manuscript and its potential contribution to political science. Watch this space for the opening of the application period which is usually open in January provided that the Foundation has sufficient resources. The application period will also be advertised on Facebook.
    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 Grahn.

    The Johan Skytte Foundation

    In 1622, Johan Skytte donated land and property to Uppsala University in order to establish a professorship in political science and eloquence. Johan Skytte, by then a leading Swedish statesman and vice-chancellor of Uppsala University, observed that while Sweden usually excelled at the field of battle, she tended to underperform at the ensuing negotiation table. Johan Skytte was determined the new chair at Uppsala University could help to change this by offering training in the art of eloquence and politics. Over the years, the donation which was intended to be independent has become part of Uppsala University’s collective assets and funds. In 1979, the eleventh 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 the 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 assets should be used in a wise and constructive manner, and – in one way or another, in the 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 1995 until today, 25 prominent political scientists have been awarded the Prize which rewards the 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.
    In preparation for the 400th anniversary of the Foundation in 2022, the Foundation unveiled a new logo and launched a new website for the Johan Skytte Prize.
    The Foundation is governed by a 6-strong board, including the patron Count Jonas Mörner, current Skytte Professor of Political Science Li Bennich-Björkman, vice-chancellor of Uppsala University Anders Hagfeldt, treasurer Anders Barth, secretary Jacob von Ehrenheim and board member Henrik Borelius.

    Who was Johan Skytte

    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.

    The Committee

    Li Bennich-Björkman
    Johan Skytte Professor in Political Science and Eloquence, Uppsala University, chair

    Lise Rakner
    Professor, University of Bergen

    Jan Teorell
    Professor of Political Science, Stockholm University

    Maurizio Ferrera
    Professor, Università degli studi di Milano

    Vello Pettai
    Professor of Comparative Politics, Johan Skytte Institute, Tartu University

    Kimberly Hutchings
    Professor of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University of London


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    Address: Skytteanum, Valvgatan 4, 753 10 Uppsala, Sweden
    Telephone: 0046 700664926. Email: michal@skytteprize.com