The Benjamin E. Lippincott Award is presented annually by the American Political Science Association (APSA) to recognize a work of exceptional quality by a living political theorist that is still considered significant after a time span of at least 15 years since the original date of publication. Mansbridge will deliver the Lippincott Lecture on Saturday, September 17th at 2pm ET as part of the APSA Annual Meeting.
Jane Mansbridge, author of Beyond Adversary Democracy, is the Charles F. Adams Professor Emerita at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is the author of Beyond Adversary Democracy (1980) and Why We Lost the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment], and editor or co-editor of Beyond Self‑Interest (1990), Feminism (1994), Oppositional Consciousness (2001), Deliberative Systems (2012), Political Negotiation (2015), and The Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy (2018). Volumes of her selected essays include Participation, Deliberation, Legitimate Coercion (ed. Melissa Williams, 2018), Democracia: Amistad y Pugna (ed. & trans. Felipe Rey Salamanca, 2021), and Dispositifs de la démocratie: Entre participation, délibération et représentation (ed. and trans. Samuel Hayat et al., 2022). She received the Karl Deutsch Award in 2021, the Johan Skytte Prize in 2018, the James Madison Award in 2011, and was president of the American Political Science Association in 2012-13.
Citation from the Award Committee:
Jane Mansbridge’s Beyond Adversary Democracy is an outstanding work in normative political theory and the study of democratic institutions. It introduces a distinction (which is now seminal in democratic theory) between adversary democracy (which seeks to solve conflicts between citizens’ essentially self-interested preferences via majority rule grounded in equal voting rights), and unitary democracy (which is based on common interest and equal respect and seeks and relies on consensus). In so doing, the book reframes familiar distinctions between pluralism and direct or participatory democracy, in the service of a rich and nuanced understanding of democratic ideals. It is a particular strength of the book that Mansbridge favors neither of these methods in the abstract. She argues that successful democratic decision-making requires citizens to engage in both, and to be able to shift from one to the other as the context demands.
The book is a methodological tour de force. It blends normative arguments with interviews, questionnaires, and in-the-field observations of town meetings. It has been broadly influential not just in political theory but in political science in general. It is of considerable relevance today with democracies under populist threat. Beyond Adversary Democracy offers an acute diagnosis of the legitimacy gaps created by the adversary system, and its tendencies to polarization or authoritarianism, but also offers a hopeful vision of how to fill these gaps by emphasizing common interests and political friendship.
APSA thanks the University of Minnesota for its support of the award and the committee members for their service: Dr. Cecile Fabre (chair) of the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Lisa J. Disch of the University of Michigan, and Will Kymlicka of Queens University.