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Johan Skytte Prize to Martha Finnemore and Alexander Wendt

Martha Finnemore and Alexander Wendt. Illustration by Anna Illeby

26 May 2023

The Johan Skytte Foundation is delighted to announce that Alexander Wendt and Martha Finnemore have been jointly awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. The prize is a recognition of their exceptional contributions to the field, particularly in advancing the constructivist approach to the study of international relations.

Wendt and Finnemore have revolutionised the field of political science by elevating the constructivist perspective to a leading position in the study of international relations. Their work has not only renewed but also deepened our understanding of international politics, shedding new light on the dynamics of the global system.

The prize committee’s citation for awarding the Johan Skytte Prize to Wendt and Finnemore reads as follows:

For having formulated and empirically demonstrated the fruitfulness of constructivism, thus renewing and deepening the understanding of international politics.

Alexander Wendt’s seminal article, “Anarchy is What States Make of It”, published in 1992, marked a turning point in the field of international relations. His constructivist approach challenged the prevailing paradigms of realism and liberalism by emphasising the role of social constructs and norms in shaping states’ behaviour and interests. Martha Finnemore, through her influential scholarship and empirical research, has significantly contributed to advancing constructivism in the study of international organisations and their impact on global governance. Her work has highlighted the crucial role of norms and ideas in shaping state behaviour within international institutions.

The Skytte Prize, which includes a cash award of SEK 500,000 and a silver medal, will be presented to Alexander Wendt and Martha Finnemore at a grand ceremony held at Uppsala University. This year’s award marks the 29th consecutive year of recognising excellence in political science.

The Johan Skytte Foundation congratulates Alexander Wendt and Martha Finnemore on their remarkable achievements and their profound impact on the field of political science. Their ground-breaking work will continue to shape the study of international relations for years to come.

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