Open lectures with Margaret Levi, this year's Johan Skytte Prize laureate


On 28 September, the Johan Skytte Prize will be awarded to Margaret Levi in a festive ceremony. The ceremony will, as per custom, be preceded by wreath laying at the tomb of Johan Skytte at Uppsala Cathedral. During her stay in Uppsala Professor Levi will deliver two lectures open to the public.

Margaret Levi, illustration: Anna Ileby

Expanded Communities of Fate
27 September at 13:15 in Brusewitz Hall, Östra Ågatan 19

Professor Levi will hold a talk for approximately 45 minutes which will be followed by a discussion lasting up to 30 minutes. Everyone is welcome to take part in the discussion. This lecture is open to the staff, students as well as the general public. Please make sure to arrive 15 minutes ahead of the advertised starting time to make sure you get a seat.

People and Governance
28 September at 17:30 in Hall X at the Main University Building, Biskopsgatan 3

This is the traditional prize winner’s lecture that takes 30 minutes and no questions are entertained. As per custom, the prize winner’s lecture is open to the wide public. There is no admission fee. Arrive in good time to secure a seat.

Margaret Levi

Margaret Levi, director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) and professor of political science at Stanford University as well as Jere L. Bacharach Professor Emerita in International Studies at University of Washington, is the 25th recipient of the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. 

In her work, Levi often re-visits the sources of legitimacy behind state coercion and coercion exercised by other collectives. According to Levi, the state could not exist without what she calls a pseudo-voluntary consent to being governed, paying taxes and obeying laws which we might not necessarily like or have not actively helped to create. As the experience of many dictatorial rulers shows, the price of governing is often high. In the worst scenarios, people have to be divided by walls, placed under surveillance, bribed with “bread and games” – but even these strategies do not necessarily make the rulers safe. A potential revolt is always brewing. Governing becomes much easier when consent is given, which, as Levi shows, is best achieved if national politics is perceived as fair, if decision-making procedures are perceived as inclusive and if there is a belief that everyone contributes without free-riding. 

About the Johan Skytte Prize

In 1622, Johan Skytte, then Vice-Chancellor of the University, established the Johan Skytte chair in Eloquence and Government, which is probably the world’s oldest active professorship in political science. The lands included in the original donation continue to finance research and the Johan Skytte Prize. The prize money of SEK 500,000 is awarded every year by the Skytte Foundation at Uppsala University to the person who has made the “most valuable contribution to political science”.