Gabriel Abraham Almond (January 12, 1911 – December 25, 2002) was an American political scientist best known for his pioneering work on comparative politics, political development, and political culture.
Gabriel Abraham Almond
January 12, 1911
|Died||December 25, 2002 91) (aged|
|Awards||Karl Deutsch Award (1997)|
|Alma mater||University of Chicago|
|Thesis||Plutocracy and Politics in New York City|
|Notable works||The Civic Culture (1963)|
Almond was born on January 12, 1911, in Rock Island, Illinois, the son of Russian-Jewish and Ukrainian-Jewish immigrants, raised "in a strict orthodox Jewish home." He attended the University of Chicago, both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student, and worked with Harold Lasswell. Almond completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1938, but his doctoral dissertation, Plutocracy and Politics in New York City, was not published until 1998, because it included unflattering references to John D. Rockefeller, a benefactor of the University of Chicago.
Almond taught at Brooklyn College (now the City University of New York) from 1939 to 1942. With US entry into World War II, Almond joined the Office of War Information, analyzing enemy propaganda, and becoming head of its Enemy Information Section. After the war, Almond worked for the US Strategic Bombing Survey in post-war Germany.
Almond returned to academic life in 1947 and taught at Yale University where he was part of their Institute of International Studies until 1951, when he was part of a group that left for Princeton University and founded its Center of International Studies. He subsequently returned to Yale in 1959, then went to Stanford University in 1963, where he remained until his retirement in 1993. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1961. He was chair of the political science department at Stanford from 1964 to 1969 and spent time as a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, the University of Belo Horizonte, and the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Although Almond retired in 1976 and became an emeritus professor at Stanford, he continued to write and teach until his death.
Almond chaired the Social Science Research Council's Committee on Comparative Politics for many years and was president of the American Political Science Association (APSA) for 1965–1966. In 1981, he received APSA's James Madison Award, which is given to a political scientist who has made a "distinguished scholarly contribution" during his or her career. He was also the first recipient of the Karl Deutsch Award of the International Political Science Association in 1997. Almond died on December 25, 2002, in Pacific Grove, California, aged 91.
Almond broadened the field of political science in the 1950s by integrating approaches from other social science disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, and anthropology, into his work. He transformed an interest in foreign policy into systematic studies of comparative political development and culture. Almond's research eventually covered many topics, including the politics of developing countries, communism, and religious fundamentalism.
Almond was a prolific author, publishing 18 books and numerous journal articles, and co-writing many others. His most famous work was The Civic Culture (1963), co-authored with Sidney Verba. It popularized the idea of a political culture – a concept that includes national character and how people choose to govern themselves – as a fundamental aspect of society. Almond and Verba distinguished different political cultures according to their level and type of political participation and the nature of people's attitudes toward politics. The Civic Culture was one of the first large-scale cross-national survey studies undertaken in political science and greatly stimulated comparative studies of democracy.
Almond also contributed to theoretical work on political development. In Comparative Politics: A Developmental Approach (1966), Almond and G. Bingham Powell proposed a variety of cultural and functional ways to measure the development of societies. For a period in the 1960s and 1970s, Almond's approaches came to define comparative politics.
In a 1991 paper titled, "Capitalism and Democracy", in two paragraphs Almond stated what the basic agendas for the study of governance ought to be in US universities: that capitalism and democracy co-exist as the prevailing systems of governance the world over and they invariably interact with each other and transform each other through time."
The similarities between Almond's view and Walter Lippmann's produced what became known as the Almond–Lippmann consensus, which is based on three assumptions:
- Public opinion is volatile, shifting erratically in response to the most recent developments or manipulation. Mass beliefs early in the twentieth century were "too pacifist in peace and too bellicose in war, too neutralist or appeasing in negotiations or too intransigent."
- Public opinion is incoherent, lacking an organized or a consistent structure to such an extent that the views of US citizens could best be described as "nonattitudes".
- Public opinion is irrelevant to the policy-making process. Political leaders ignore public opinion because most Americans can neither "understand nor influence the very events upon which their lives and happiness are known to depend."
The Almond–Lippmann consensus was highly influential in the 1950s and 1960s but weakened following the Vietnam War. Current research has refuted much of the Almond–Lippmann consensus, especially the second point that public opinion is incoherent and lacks organization. In fact, research done by the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Kentucky has suggested that Americans reach opinion on foreign policy by using abstract, but often consistent, ideologies. These ideologies include their attitudes towards communism, militarism, isolationism, and so forth.
- "Obituary: Gabriel Almond Political scientist with chutzpah", The Independent, Thursday 9 January 2003
- Levey, Stanley (April 23, 1951). "Six of Faculty Leaving Yale For Princeton in Policy Split" (PDF). The New York Times. pp. 1, 18.
- "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Karl Deutsch Award
- Almond, Gabriel (1991). "Capitalism and Democracy" (PDF).
- Holsti, Ole, R., and James M. Rosenau. 1979. "Vietnam, Consensus, and the Belief Systems of American Leaders." World Politics 32. (October):1–56
- Yuchtman-Yaar, Ephraim; Peres, Yoḥanan (2000). Between Consent and Dissent: Democracy and Peace in the Israeli Mind. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 10. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- Lippmann, Walter. 1955. Essays in the Public Philosophy. Boston: Little, Brown.
- Converse, Philip. 1964. "The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics." In Ideology and Discontent, ed. David Apter, 206–261. New York: Free Press.
- Almond, Gabriel. 1950. The American People and Foreign Policy. New York: Harcourt, Brace.
- Kris, Ernst, and Nathan Leites. 1947. "Trends in Twentieth Century Propaganda." In Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences, ed. Geza Rheim, pp. 393–409. New York: international University Press.
- Hurwitz, Jon (December 1987). "How are foreign policy attitudes structured? A Hierarchical Model". The American Political Science Review. 81: 1099–1120 – via apsa.
- General sources
- Eulau, Heinz, Lucian Pye and Sidney Verba. 2003. "Memorial Resolution: Gabriel Almond." Stanford Reporter, 21 May.
- Lockhart, Charles. 1993. "Gabriel Almond." In American Political Scientists: A Dictionary, eds. G. Utter and C. Lockhart. Greenwood Press.
- Martin, Douglas. 2003. "Gabriel A. Almond, 91, Political Scientist." New York Times, 13 January.
- Trie, Lisa. 2003. "Gabriel A. Almond, Preeminent Political Scientist, Dies." Stanford Reporter, 8 January.
- Almond's publications (partial)
- "Aggressive Behavior by Clients Toward Public Relief Administrators: A Configurative Analysis." 1934. American Political Science Review 28(4): 643–655. (with Harold D. Lasswell).
- The American People and Foreign Policy. 1950. Harcourt, Brace.
- The Appeals of Communism. 1954. Princeton University Press.
- The Politics of the Developing Areas. 1960. Princeton University Press. (edited with James S. Coleman).
- The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. 1963. Princeton University Press. (with Sidney Verba).
- "Political Theory and Political Science." 1966. American Political Science Review 60(4): 869–879.
- Comparative Politics: A Developmental Approach. 1966. Little, Brown. (with G. Bingham Powell, Jr.).
- Comparative Politics Today: A World View. 1974. Little, Brown. (editor).
- Crisis, Choice, and Change: Historical Studies of Political Development. 1975. Little, Brown. (edited with Scott Flanagan and Robert Mundt).
- The Civic Culture Revisited. 1980. Little, Brown. (edited with Sidney Verba).
- "The Return to the State." 1988. American Political Science Review 82(3): 853–874.
- A Discipline Divided: Schools and Sects in Political Science. 1990. SAGE Publications.
- Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms Around the World. 2003. University of Chicago Press. (with R. Scott Appleby, and Emmanuel Sivan).
- Polling, Policy, and Public Opinion: The Case Against Heeding the "Voice of the People". 2002. Weissberg, Robert. New York, Palgrave Macmillan.
- Stanford News Service Obituary news release
- Gabriel Almond at Find a Grave
- National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir
- Gabriel A. Almond Papers
|Professional and academic associations|
| President of the
American Political Science Association
Robert A. Dahl
Robert A. Dahl
| APSA James Madison Award
Herbert A. Simon
|New award|| Karl Deutsch Award