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Robert A. Dahl

Birthdate: 17. December 1915
Date of death: 5. February 2014

Robert Alan Dahl was a political theorist and Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He established the pluralist theory of democracy—in which political outcomes are enacted through competitive, if unequal, interest groups—and introduced "polyarchy" as a descriptor of actual democratic governance. An originator of "empirical theory" and known for advancing behavioralist characterizations of political power, Dahl's research focused on the nature of decisionmaking in actual institutions, such as American cities. Dahl is considered one of the most influential political social scientists of the twentieth century, and has been described as "the dean of American political scientists."

Professor Dahl received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 1936. He then went on to receive his Ph.D. at Yale in 1940 and served on its political science faculty from 1946 to 1986. His influential early books include A Preface to Democratic Theory , Who Governs? , and Pluralist Democracy in the United States , which presented pluralistic explanations for political rule in the United States. He was elected president of the American Political Science Association in 1966.

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Who Governs?
Who Governs?
Robert A. Dahl

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