Ideas, Knowledge and Politics (Section 46)

To understand political decisions and actions, it is necessary to study the sources and content of our political beliefs. To assess these decisions and actions, we need to study whether our political beliefs are accurate.

Why do different people interpret the political world in different ways? How do they interpret either their own interests or the public interest; from what sources are these interpretations drawn; and how do these interpretations motivate political action? Given political actors’ imperfect knowledge, how do they try to approximate full knowledge of the likely consequences of their actions, and how successful are these attempts? Under what conditions do political beliefs tend to be true? These questions have tended to be neglected within political science, with the result that our understandings of political processes are often incomplete. By addressing itself to the sources and the accuracy of our political beliefs, political epistemology seeks to fill a significant lacuna in political science and political theory.

Founded: 2014

Section Counts


Section Membership Dues

Student Regular
$0 $10
Section Officers
Chair Jeffrey Friedman, Harvard University
Secretary Paul Gunn, Goldsmith's, University of London
Treasurer Nick Clark, Susquehanna University
2021 Annual Meeting
Division Chair
Jeffrey Friedman, Harvard University
[email protected]
Council Kai Jager, King's College London
Helene Landemore, Yale University
Matthias Matthijs, Johns Hopkins University
Benjamin Miller, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Vivien Schmidt, Boston University
Section Journal

Political Epistemology

Publishes 1 time per year.

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Ideas, Knowledge and Politics (Section 46)

Section awards are presented during the APSA annual meeting awards ceremony. To learn more about any award listed, contact the award committee chair for the award.

All section 46. Ideas, Knowledge and Politics awards to-date »


Ideas, Knowledge and Politics Best Book Award

This award recognizes the best recent book on empirical or normative aspects of the causal role of ideas or knowledge claims in politics or government. The committee is authorized to go back several years, at its discretion, and to make its own nominations as well as accepting nominations from others, including book authors. Nominated books published in 2020 or previous years should be sent to committee members with a note or email message specifying that the book is being nominated. If only one copy of the book is available, please communicate this to the chair of the committee. Authors are urged to follow up with publishers to be sure that books have been submitted. Publishers are urged to contact committee members for their current mailing addresses. Deadline for nominations: Feburary 1, 2021

Award Committee

Name Affiliation Email
Paul M. D. Gunn (chair) Goldsmith's, University of London [email protected]
Helene Landemore Yale University [email protected]
Adam B. Lerner Royal Holloway, University of London [email protected]

Best Graduate Student Paper Prize

This $500 cash prize recognizes the APSA conference paper by a graduate student or post-doc, presented at an Ideas, Knowledge, and Politics panel at the 2020 annual meetings, that best explored the causal role of ideas or knowledge claims in politics or government. Nominations will be solicited from 2020 IKP panel chairs and discussants. The awards committee reserves the right to make no award or to reduce the cash prize pending the financial situation brought about by the pandemic. Deadline for nominations: November 1, 2020

Award Committee

Name Affiliation Email
Jeffrey Friedman (chair) Harvard University [email protected]
Kai Jager King's College London [email protected]