Theme: Political Ideas | Content Type: Journal article

Free to read

The Making of Empirical Political Science in the UK: Jean Blondel, David Butler and Peter Pulzer

Alan Ware


Graeme Maclean

| 1 min read

During the winter of 2022–3, three of the most influential individuals in the development of empirical political science in Europe, died. All had been active in research between at least the early 1960s and the present century. David Butler had pioneered, especially, the study of electoral behaviour and particularly in the UK. Jean Blondel had founded the outstanding Department of Government at Essex University and he was one of the principal academics responsible for the creation and subsequent flourishing of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR). Peter Pulzer not only published important comparative work on European politics, but he also supervised doctoral theses on topics beyond Europe's own borders. This essay discusses their respective roles and contributions in the founding of a discipline that was only newly forming when they started their own research during the 1950s.