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The 2014 Johan Skytte Prize awarded to David Collier

2014-04-24

Professor David Collier at the University of California, Berkeley, is this year’s winner of the Johan Skytte Prize in political science. He has been awarded the prize ‘for his contributions to concept development in political science and the development of methods for qualitative analysis’. The Johan Skytte Prize is one of the greatest and most prestigious awards in political science.

David Collier’s empirical research on Latin America, his development of theories on critical junctures and his methodological positioning in defense of the qualitative methods’ distinctive features and central role make him a political scientist of great importance to contemporary research.

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 Dynamics 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 comparisons 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).

‘Characteristic of David Collier as a researcher is his ambition to in the true sense conduct cumulative research; to synthesize and to critically examine to gain increased knowledge and understanding. There is humility and a refreshing lack of self-centering in Collier’s great co-authored works’, says Li Bennich-Björkman, Johan Skytte professor in eloquence and political science, and chair of the award committee.

The Johan Skytte Prize will this year be awarded for the 20thyear running by the Johan Skytte Foundation at a ceremony in Uppsala, Saturday 27 September.

Facts about the prize:
In 1622, the University Chancellor Johan Skytte founded the Johan Skytte professorship in eloquence and political science. Today this is probably the oldest still active chair in political science. The properties that were part of the original donation still support both research and the Johan Skytte Prize. The prize and the prize sum of SEK 500,000 is awarded by the Johan Skytte Foundation at Uppsala University to whoever has made ‘the most valuable contribution to political science’.

For more information, please contact Li Bennich-Björkman, tel. +46 70 167 95 04, e-mail li.bennich-bjorkman@statsvet.uu.se