Professor Michael Freeden of Mansfield College has been selected for the Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies by the Political Studies Association (PSA).
Freeden joined Mansfield in 1978, and despite retiring from the University in 2011, he continues to work conscientiously in his field. In particular, his eagerly awaited large-scale study of the nature of political thinking is due to be completed this year.
Freeden’s scholarship include many articles and essays collected in Liberal Languages: Ideological Imaginations and Twentieth Century Political Thought, that provides detailed accounts of particular liberal thinkers such as T.H. Green and D.G. Ritchie and groups such as the Rainbow Circle.
In addition to his own wide-ranging and distinguished scholarship, Freeden has exercised great leadership and energy in opening up new institutional spaces for scholarly interest in the study of ideology to develop and flourish. He was the guiding force behind the innovative Centre for Political Ideologies, established in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford.
Professor Freeden was particularly pleased to receive the Sir Isaiah Berlin prize of the PSA, commenting, “Isaiah Berlin had shown kindness to me, as he did to so many others, when I was a young scholar at Oxford. I think that the award, for which I am very grateful, recognizes two things: the coming of age of ideology studies within the ambit of political theory, and the need for political theorists to look at the actual practicing of political thinking in societies as distinct from the construction of normative ideal types that are often removed from real-world possibilities.”
Mansfield College Alumni Officer Bob Trafford expressed sincere congratulations to Professor Freeden on the College’s behalf to Cherwell, “From 1978 until his retirement in 2011, Professor Freeden had long been one of the pillars of Mansfield life, popular and respected amongst generations of our students, as well as amongst the College staff and the SCR, and we are delighted and proud to see his many enduring and immensely valuable contributions to Political Studies commemorated in this way.”
For many students, having the opportunity to engage in hour-long tutorials and classes with such leaders-in-their-fields is a unique privilege. A second year PPEist commented, “I think the best thing about Oxford is the tutorial system. To have discussions with leading academics such as Professor Freeden is really an honour!”
A spokesperson for the University concurred, “It is a fantastic achievement for Professor Freeden to have his contribution to the field of political studies recognised with such a prestigious honour. Prizes such as this and others awarded to Oxford University academics across the subject spectrum is a real testament to the strength of Oxford’s academic community and the intellectual leadership Oxford academics consistently demonstrate.”