We are very pleased to announce that the winner of the 2020 CONGRIPS Life Achievement Award is Professor Richard Katz.
The CONGRIPS Executive considers Richard Katz to be a worthy recipient of this Award. Not only has he done research and published on Italian politics (in the form of single country analysis) but he has done a wealth of cutting-edge theoretical and empirical comparative research which has helped scholars outside Italy (and notably in North America) understand better Italian politics. In particular, his seminal theoretical and comparative work on political parties has had especial resonance in relation to Italy whose democracy is difficult to understand without a deep understanding of the role that political parties have played, and continue to play, in it. Professor Katz is also almost unique amongst American political scientists in having the courage and conviction to step out of his own American upbringing and not just put his feet in European shoes but actually go walking in them. Unlike many American political scientists, he is someone who has refused to start from an assumption about the apparent superiority of American political science. On the contrary, he has been a scathing critic of much of it. But he has done this through deep constructive (and critical) engagement with his European peers which has enriched and improved European political science, and from which the study of Italian politics has benefited. And he has not done all this from afar. He has had constant physical presence in Europe at major conferences year after year. He has chosen to make huge sacrifices by actively participating in the governance of European political science (notably, but not only, through the ECPR), while at the same time acting in similar bodies (such as our own CONGRIPS) in the US. And, at the more individual level, there are scores of academics in Italy and the rest of Europe who have benefited from his immense experience, advice and willingness to give up his time to help people in their research and careers. As a North American with a European heart in the long twilight of his career, Richard Katz is not only very eligible but very deserving too.