International Political Science Association

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International Political Science Association
Abbreviation IPSA
Formation 1949
Headquarters Montreal,  Canada
Region served
Official language
English, French
Aiji Tanaka  Japan
Parent organization
International Social Science Council (ISSC)
Website IPSA Official website

The International Political Science Association (IPSA), founded under the auspices of UNESCO in 1949, is an international scholarly association. IPSA is devoted to the advancement of political science in all parts of the world. During its history [1] it has helped build bridges between East and West, North and South, and has promoted collaboration between scholars in both established and emerging democracies. Its aim is to create a global political science community in which all can participate, most recently it has been extending its reach in Eastern Europe and Latin America. IPSA has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Council (UNESCO) and it is a member of the International Social Science Council and of the Global Development Network.


Since its beginning, national political science associations have constituted its core. Its founder members included American, Canadian, French and Indian political science associations. By 1960, 24 more national associations had joined up. Since then, collective membership has been expanding at a steady pace. Today, 52 national associations [2] are collective members of IPSA. Each collective member is represented on IPSA’s central governing organ, the Council. The Council lays down broad policy guidelines for the association and elects the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the conduct of IPSA’s affairs between congresses.

Individual and associate membership was introduced in the early 1950s. Starting with 52 members in 1952, IPSA’s individual membership now stands at more than 3 400 members. The Association has worked hard to increase the involvement of women, who now make up more than a third of the membership. Associate membership is open to institutions engaged in research or teaching in the area of political science and is hovering at around 110 institutions worldwide.


The special mandate of IPSA, expressed in its Constitution, is to support the development of political science in all parts of the world, building academic networks linking East and West, North and South. Its aim is to create an inclusive and global political science community in which all can participate. It seeks to promote collaboration between scholars in emerging and established democracies and to support the academic freedoms needed for the social sciences to flourish.

The activities and policies of IPSA reflect its global mission. It has been highly successful in the encouragement of national political science associations and today there are over 50 such associations affiliated with IPSA. IPSA has maintained its links with the United Nations and has supported the development of other international and regional political science organizations.

IPSA World Congresses of Political Science are now held every second year, moving between continents. The participation of scholars from less developed countries is supported through travel grants and the Global South Solidarity Fund. IPSA’s research committees offer opportunities for political scientists working in particular sub-fields of the discipline to associate with colleagues from around the world. Organizing events between World Congresses and playing a major role in these Congresses, the research committees encourage the world-wide pooling of skills and resources by working both together and in conjunction with specialist sub-groups of national associations.

IPSA publications, including the lead journal International Political Science Review, the International Political Science Abstracts, World Political Science, Participation, and the IPSA Portal, also seek to meet the needs of political scientists in different parts of the world. As part of IPSA’s global mission to support and promote political science, it now conducts summer schools in research methods across the globe, for example, in South America and South Africa.

IPSA strives to ensure balanced representation in terms of region, gender and stage of career in all its activities – for example, the creation of a new research committee must be supported by political scientists from at least seven different countries and two continents. Conference panels and roundtables are expected to display similar diversity, with representation from more than one continent and at least four countries.

By linking scholars from North and South as well as East and West, IPSA seeks to strengthen the networks that underpin a global political science community. Such linkages put political science in a stronger position to contribute to the quality of public deliberation and decision-making as well as to the understanding of an increasingly interconnected political world. Ultimately, IPSA supports the role of political science in empowering men and women to participate more effectively in political life, whether within or beyond the states in which they live.

Academic activities[edit]

IPSA’s academic activities fall under three main headings: 1) organizing biennial world congresses as well as regular events between congresses; 2) promoting research in political science, notably through a wide-reaching network of research committees (RCs); and 3) disseminating research and information through a range of publications. IPSA’s principal academic activity is the biennial congress. Starting in 1950 and 1952, world congresses have since been taking place every three years. From small beginnings, they have developed into major international scientific occasions, typically attracting about 2000 participants. As of 2012, world congresses are held every other year. In addition to these major events, IPSA sponsors other types of scholarly meetings such as conferences, roundtables and workshops.

Since the 1970s, one of the most dynamic areas of growth within IPSA has been the activity of its RCs. In addition to organizing panels at the triennial congresses, RCs organize their own meetings between congresses, publish newsletters and issue other publications. IPSA now has 52 active RCs with interests ranging from political finance to gender and language politics and comparative democratization.

List of Research Committees[edit]

  • RC01 - Concepts and Methods
  • RC02 - Political Elites
  • RC03 - European Unification
  • RC05 - Comparative Studies on Local Government and Politics
  • RC06 - Political Sociology
  • RC07 - Women, Politics and Developing Nations
  • RC08 - Legislative Specialists
  • RC09 - Comparative Judicial Studies
  • RC10 - Electronic Democracy
  • RC11 - Science and Politics
  • RC12 - Biology and Politics
  • RC13 - Democratization in Comparative Perspective
  • RC14 - Politics and Ethnicity
  • RC15 - Political and Cultural Geography
  • RC16 - Socio-Political Pluralism
  • RC17 - Comparative Public Opinion
  • RC18 - Asian and Pacific Studies
  • RC19 - Gender Politics and Policy
  • RC20 - Political Finance and Political Corruption
  • RC21 - Political Socialization and Education
  • RC22 - Political Communication
  • RC23 - Elections, Citizens and Parties
  • RC24 - Armed Forces and Society
  • RC25 - Comparative Health Policy
  • RC26 - Human Rights
  • RC27 - Structure and Organization of Government
  • RC28 - Comparative Federalism and Multilevel Governance
  • RC29 - Psycho-Politics
  • RC30 - Comparative Public Policy
  • RC31 - Political Philosophy
  • RC32 - Public Policy and Administration
  • RC33 - The Study of Political Science as a Discipline
  • RC34 - Quality of Democracy
  • RC35 - Technology and Development
  • RC36 - Political Power
  • RC37 - Rethinking Political Development
  • RC38 - Politics and Business
  • RC39 - Welfare States and Developing Societies
  • RC40 - New World Orders?
  • RC41 - Geopolitics
  • RC42 - Security, Integration and Unification
  • RC43 - Religion and Politics
  • RC44 - Military's Role in Democratization
  • RC45 - Quantitative International Politics
  • RC47 - Local-Global Relations
  • RC48 - Administrative Culture
  • RC49 - Socialism, Capitalism and Democracy
  • RC50 - The Politics of Language
  • RC51 - International Political Economy

Summer schools[edit]

IPSA offers summer schools in Sao Paulo, Brazil (since 2010), Stellenbosch, South Africa (2011-2013), Singapore (since 2012) and Ankara, Turkey (since 2013). IPSA summer schools are intended to give social sciences scholars access to high-quality advanced training in qualitative and quantitative social science and political science research methods.


IPSA's extensive publishing program has included International Political Science Abstracts (IPSA) (1951–present);[3] International Political Science Review (1980–present)[4] and the bulletin of the association, Participation.(1977–). More recently, IPSA has offered an online publication, IPSAPortal, which provides ratings and links for the top 300 web sites for political science worldwide. Finally, IPSA offers a monthly information email called Newsletter. As of 2014, IPSA also publishes World Political Science, in collaboration with De Gruyter.


The Association awards various scholarly awards to leading scholars in the field, including Karl Deutsch Award, considered the highest award in the field of comparative politics or even political science in general.

List of World Congresses[edit]

  • 1. Zurich, Switzerland (1950)
  • 2. The Hague, Netherlands (1952)
  • 3. Stockholm, Sweden (1955)
  • 4. Rome, Italy (1958)
  • 5. Paris, France (1961)
  • 6. Geneva, Switzerland (1964)
  • 7. Brussels, Belgium (1967)
  • 8. Munich, Germany (1970)
  • 9. Montréal, Canada (1973)
  • 10. Edinburgh, Scotland (1976)
  • 11. Moscow, Russia (1979)
  • 12. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1982)
  • 13. Paris, France (1985)
  • 14. Washington D.C., United States (1988)
  • 15. Buenos Aires, Argentina (1991)
  • 16. Berlin, Germany (1994)
  • 17. Seoul, South Korea (1997)
  • 18. Québec, Canada (2000)
  • 19. Durban, South Africa (2003)
  • 20. Fukuoka, Japan (2006)
  • 21. Santiago, Chile (2009)
  • 22. Madrid, Spain (2012)
  • 23. Montréal, Canada (2014)
  • 24. Istanbul, Turkey (2016)
  • 25. Brisbane, Australia (2018)

IPSA Presidents[edit]

Quincy Wright, University of Chicago (1949-1952)
William A Robson, London School of Economics (1952-1955)
James K Pollock, University of Michigan (1955-1958)
Jacques Chapsal, FNSP, Paris (1958-1961)
D N Chester, Nuffield College, Oxford (1961-1964)
Jacques Freymond, IUHEI, Geneva (1964-1967)
Carl Joachim Friedrich, Harvard University (1967-1970)
Stein Rokkan, University of Bergen (1970-1973)
Jean Laponce, University of British Columbia (1973-1976)
Karl Deutsch, Harvard University (1976-1979)
Candido Mendes, SBI, Rio de Janeiro (1979-1982)
Klaus von Beyme, University of Heidelberg (1982-1985)
Kinhide Mushakoji, UN University, Tokyo (1985-1988)
Guillermo O’Donnell, CEBRAP, São Paulo/Notre Dame (1988-1991)
Carole Pateman, UCLA, Los Angeles (1991-1994)
Jean Leca, Sciences Po (FNSP), Paris (1994-1997)
Theodore J. Lowi, Cornell University (1997-2000)
Dalchoong Kim, Yonsei University (2000-2003)
Max Kaase, International University of Bremen (2003-2006)
Lourdes Sola, University of São Paulo (2006-2009)
Leonardo Morlino, University of Florence (2009-2012)
Helen Milner, Princeton University (2012-2014)
Aiji Tanaka, Waseda University (2014-)

IPSA Secretaries General[edit]

François Goguel, FNSP, Paris (1949-1950)
Jean Meynaud, FNSP, Paris (1950-1955)
John Goormaghtigh, Brussels (1955-1960)
Serge Hurtig, FNSP, Paris (1960-1967)
André Philippart, Carnegie Endowment, Brussels (1967-1976)
John Trent, University of Ottawa (1976-1988)
Francesco Kjellberg, University of Oslo (1988-1994)
John Coakley, University College Dublin (1994-2000)
Guy Lachapelle, Concordia University (2000-)


  1. ^ Boncourt, Thibaud. A History of the International Political Science Association. International Political Science Association: Montréal, 2009.
  2. ^ List of IPSA Collective Members
  3. ^ International Political Science Abstracts
  4. ^ International Political Science Review

External links[edit]