David Apter

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David Ernest Apter (December 18, 1924 – May 4, 2010) was an American political scientist and sociologist. He was Henry J Heinz Professor Emeritus of Comparative Political and Social Development and Senior Research Scientist at Yale University.

He was born on December 18, 1924. He taught at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago (where he was the Executive Secretary of the Committee for the Comparative Study of New Nations), the University of California, (where he was director of the Institute of International Studies), and Yale University, where he held a joint appointment in political science and sociology and served as Director of the Social Science Division, Chair of Sociology, and was a founding fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1966.[1]

He was a Guggenheim Fellow, a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Science in Palo Alto, California, a Fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, as well as a Phi Beta Kappa Lecturer. He has done field research on development, democratization and political violence in Africa, Latin America, Japan, and China.

In 2006 he was the first recipient of the Foundation Mattei Dogan prize for contributions to Interdisciplinary research.[2]

Apter died in his home in North Haven, Connecticut, from complications due to cancer on May 4, 2010.[3]

Literary works[edit]

  • The Gold Coast in Transition, 1955
  • The Politics of Modernization, 1965
  • Political Change, 1973
  • Choice and the Politics of Allocation, 1972 (received the Woodrow Wilson Foundation award for the best book of the year on government, politics, or international affairs)[4]
  • Ghana in Transition (Princeton)
  • The Political Kingdom in Uganda (Princeton PUP; London: Frank Cass)
  • The Politics of Modernization (Chicago, Japanese, Turkish, and Indonesian editions)
  • Against the State (Harvard; Iwanami, Japanese ed)
  • Political Discourse in Mao’s Republic, with Tony Saich (Harvard)
  • The Legitimization of Violence (Macmillan; NYU)


  1. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 22 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "International Social Science Council". UNESCO. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  3. ^ Obituary
  4. ^ "Woodrow Wilson Foundation" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-02-04.