2019-03-28 by Michal Smrek, photo credit: APSA on Twitter

Professor Margaret Levi at Stanford University and University of Washington has been named the 25th recipient of the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. She is awarded the prize for:

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

Margaret Levi is Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) and professor of political science at Stanford University. She is also Jere L. Bacharach Professor Emerita in International Studies at University of Washington.

The prize conferred by the Skytte Foundation will be awarded on September 28, 2019.

In her work, Levi often re-visits the sources of legitimacy behind state coercion and coercion exercised by other collectives. According to Levi, the state could not exist without what she calls a quasi-voluntary consent to being governed, paying taxes and obeying laws which we might not necessarily like or have not actively helped to create. As the experience of many dictatorial rulers shows, the price of governing is often high. In the worst scenarios, people have to be divided by walls, placed under surveillance, bribed with “bread and games” – but even these strategies do not necessarily make the rulers safe. A potential revolt is always brewing. Governing becomes much easier when consent is given, which, as Levi shows, is best achieved if national politics is perceived as fair, if decision-making procedures are perceived as inclusive and if there is a belief that everyone contributes without free-riding.
The Johan Skytte Prize includes prize money of 500.000 SEK and a medal crafted by most renowned Swedish goldsmiths. The prize, often referred to as political-science equivalent of the Nobel Prizes, is awarded annually since 1995 to a scholar who in the view of the Prize Committee has made most valuable contribution to political science. The prize is part of the legacy of Johan Skytte, a Swedish statesman who in 1622 founded what is now the oldest department of political science in the world – Department of Government at Uppsala University.
Click here to access the official prize release article in Svenska Dagbladet, penned by the current Johan Skytte Professor and chair of the Skytte Prize Committee Li Bennich-Björkman. An English translation of the article will soon be available.
All press queries should be directed to our Master of Ceremonies at michal@skytteprize.com or +46(0)700664926 (text first).