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Levi Recipient of 2019 Johan Skytte Prize

Margaret Levi Graphic sketch by Anna Ileby
Mar 27 2019

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Margaret Levi, director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University, has been named the 25th laureate of the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. The prize is awarded to Levi for “having laid the foundations of our understanding of why citizens accept state coercion, by combining theoretical acumen and historical knowledge.”

The prize is widely considered the Nobel Prize equivalent for political scientists.

Margaret Levi

The laureate is chosen and awarded by the board of the Johan Skytte Foundation, Sweden, at the recommendation of the Skytte Prize Committee. The committee receives nominations from the wide scholarly community. Read the full press release here.

The prize has been awarded annually since 1995 to a scholar who, in the view of the committee, has made the most valuable contributions to political science.

According to the release, the prize is part of the legacy of Johan Skytte, a Swedish statesman who in 1622 founded what is now the oldest political science department in the world – the Department of Government at Uppsala University.

“I am beyond thrilled by this incredible honor,” said Levi. “I am also deeply humbled, as I’m in awe of previous Skytte Prize winners. They are nothing short of foundational and transformational figures in the political science profession. The inaugural winner, Robert Dahl, was one of my heroes. Lin Ostrom was a great friend and inspiration. And, I’m additionally delighted to be immediately preceded by the wonderful Jenny Mansbridge.”

“I’m also proud that so many previous winners were CASBS fellows. It speaks to the caliber of talent that we assemble here every year. It’s yet another indicator of the profound quality of scholarship the Center helps nurture and disseminate to the world."

Indeed, including Levi, herself a 1993-94 fellow, an impressive 14 of 25 winners of the Skytte Prize have been CASBS fellows. They include Robert Dahl (1955-56, 1966-67), Alexander George (1956-57, 1976-77), Juan Linz (1963-64), Sidney Verba (1963-64), Robert Putnam (1974-75, 1988-89), Robert Axelrod (1976-77, 1981-82), Brian Barry (1976-77), Robert Keohane (1977-78, 1987-88, 2004-05), Carole Pateman (1984-85), Fritz Scharpf (1986-87), Philippe Schmitter (1991-92), David Collier (1994-95), and Jane Mansbridge (1997-98, 2001-02).

Levi previously was awarded the William H. Riker Prize in Political Science. She served as president of the American Political Science Association in 2004-05. She was a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow (2002-03), and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2001), the National Academy of Sciences (2015), the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2016), and the American Philosophical Society (2018).

Levi will receive the prize from the Skytte Foundation in Uppsala on September 28, 2019.


Graphic sketch by Anna Ileby, copyright Skytte Foundation. CASBS thanks the Skytte Foundation for its permission to post.