Hanna Fenichel Pitkin

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Hanna Fenichel Pitkin
Born (1931-07-17) July 17, 1931 (age 91)
Berlin, Germany
SpouseJohn Schaar (died 2011)
AwardsSkytte Prize (2003)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
ThesisThe Theory of Political Representation (1961)
InfluencesKarl Marx, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Stanley Cavell
Academic work
DisciplinePolitical science
Sub-disciplinePolitical theory
School or traditionBerkeley school
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley
Doctoral students
Notable worksThe Concept of Representation (1967)
InfluencedAlice Crary

Hanna Fenichel Pitkin (born July 17, 1931)[1] is an American political theorist. She is best known for her seminal study The Concept of Representation, published in 1967.

Pitkin's diverse interests range from the history of European political thought from ancient to modern times, through ordinary language philosophy and textual analysis, to issues of psychoanalysis and gender in political and social theory.


Pitkin is a professor emerita of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. Daughter of Otto Fenichel, Pitkin was born in Berlin and emigrated to the United States in 1938; her family had fled Nazi Germany for Oslo and Prague in the interim.[1] She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree from UC Berkeley in 1961.[citation needed] In 1982, she was granted the Distinguished Teaching Award from UC Berkeley.[2]

Political representation[edit]

In The Concept of Representation Pitkin describes four types of representation: formalistic, descriptive, symbolic and substantive.[3]


Pitkin's books are The Concept of Representation (1967), Wittgenstein and Justice (1972, 1984, 1992), and Fortune Is a Woman: Gender and Politics in the Thought of Niccolò Machiavelli (1984, 1999), in addition to numerous articles and edited volumes. In 1998 she published The Attack of the Blob: Hannah Arendt's Concept of "the Social". A wide selection of her writings are collected and thematized in Hanna Fenichel Pitkin: Politics, Justice, Action (2016).

Awards and legacy[edit]

In 2003, she was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science "for her groundbreaking theoretical work, predominantly on the problem of representation".[4] She was married to political theorist John Schaar. Some of her students are noteworthy political scientists such as David Laitin (Stanford University), Dan Avnon (Hebrew University, Jerusalem), Lisa Wedeen (University of Chicago), and Mary G. Dietz (Northwestern University).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Contemporary Authors Online, s.v. "Hanna Fenichel Pitkin." Accessed March 5, 2008.
  2. ^ Distinguished Teaching Award, UC Berkeley
  3. ^ "Political Representation". plato.stanford. Revised. August 29, 2018 [January 2, 2006].
  4. ^ Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science Archived August 30, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, official website.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science
Succeeded by