Jon Elster awarded this year’s Johan Skytte Prize

8 April 2016

Professor Jon Elster is this year's recipient of the Johan Skytte Prize.

This year's Johan Skytte Prize for outstanding contribution to Political Science is awarded to Professor Jon Elster, Robert K. Merton Professor in Social Sciences at Columbia University and titular professor at College de France, Paris.

The Norwegian-born Elster receives the Prize for ’penetrating, astute and unwavering drive to test and reconsider what explains human behaviour’. Ever since his dissertation on Karl Marx at Sorbonne which he defended in 1971, Elster has committed his scholarly efforts to trying to understand what it is that makes people act the way they do. ‘How can the way we think, our collective power and our emotions explain our actions?’ – this is the question that long stood at the forefront of his scholarly endeavour. Over five decades, Elster has urged political scientists to seriously consider the meanings of rationality, irrationality, social norms and the significance of feelings within their research and has thus immeasurably enriched and broadened the discipline. Elster’s independent intellectual journey, where both bold guesses and self-criticism were indivisible companions, serves as one of the most inspirational examples of boundless curiosity within Political Science.

The Johan Skytte Prize is conferred in a ceremony on 1 October 2016, and will be accompanied by an open lecture by the prize winner.

About the Johan Skytte Prize:

In 1622, Johan Skytte, then Vice-Chancellor of the University, established the Johan Skytte chair in Eloquence and Government, which is probably the world’s oldest active professorship in political science. The lands included in the original donation continue to finance research and the Johan Skytte Prize. The prize is awarded each year by The Skytte Foundation at Uppsala University to the person who has made the ‘most valuable contribution to political science’.

Read more about the prize on the Johan Skytte Prize Committee website.