The James Madison Award is given triennially to recognize an American political scientist who has made a distinguished scholarly contribution to political science.
Award Committee: Judith H. Stiehm, Chair, Florida International University; Simon D. Jackman, Stanford University; and Gretchen Ritter, University of Texas, Austin
Recipient: Jane Mansbridge, Harvard University
Award Address: "Democracy's Unsolved Problems"
Citation: Many superb scholars were nominated for this award, but the committee has selected Jane Mansbridge for the 2011 James Madison Award because of the breadth, the depth, the quality and the variety of her scholarship.
Mansbridge is a political theorist whose work integrates that approach with both political practice and empirical analysis. Her subjects range from representation to conflict resolution, deliberative democracy and a case study of the non-ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Her work is innovative, important, and interesting too!
Perhaps her best known books are Beyond Adversary Democracy (1980), Why We Lost the ERA (1986) and Beyond Self-Interest (1990). Each has had a profound influence on scholarship in democratic and in feminist theory, influence that continues decades after publication.
Her recent work continues to set the agenda for scholars in a variety of subfields. It should be noted, also, that she has consistently investigated normative concerns, particularly concerns related to gender, racialized minorities, and working class and poor citizens.
Similarly, Mansbridge has always been generous in mentoring young scholars and in offering support to fellow investigators who were exploring issues not yet included in mainstream political science.
One nominator described Mansbridge as having a “dogged dual self-consciousness—as a moral and political agent and as a scholar committed to seeking the truth even when it may be unpalatable”. Perhaps equally crucial to her achievements is the fact that she is (apparently) “fearless”.
Her Madison lecture is sure to yield further original insight and to set an agenda for further exploration of our political world.