IPSA Constitution (Full text) (pdf, 224kb)
IPSA was founded in Paris in 1949 under the aegis of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The special mandate of IPSA, expressed in its Constitution, is to support the development of political science in all parts of the world, building academic networks linking East and West, North and South. Its aim is to create an inclusive and global political science community in which all can participate. It seeks to promote collaboration between scholars in emerging and established democracies and to support the academic freedoms needed for the social sciences to flourish.
The activities and policies of IPSA reflect its global mission. It has been highly successful in the encouragement of national political science associations and today there are over 50 such associations affiliated with IPSA. IPSA has maintained its links with the United Nations and has supported the development of other international and regional political science organizations.
IPSA World Congresses of Political Science are now held every second year, moving between continents. The participation of scholars from less developed countries is supported through travel grants and the Global South Solidarity Fund. IPSA’s research committees offer opportunities for political scientists working in particular sub-fields of the discipline to associate with colleagues from around the world. Organizing events between World Congresses and playing a major role in these Congresses, the research committees encourage the world-wide pooling of skills and resources by working both together and in conjunction with specialist sub-groups of national associations.
IPSA publications, including the lead journal International Political Science Review, the International Political Science Abstracts, World Political Science, Participation, and the IPSA Portal, also seek to meet the needs of political scientists in different parts of the world. As part of IPSA’s global mission to support and promote political science, it now conducts summer schools in research methods across the globe, for example, in South America and South Africa.
IPSA strives to ensure balanced representation in terms of region, gender and stage of career in all its activities – for example, the creation of a new research committee must be supported by political scientists from at least seven different countries and two continents. Conference panels and roundtables are expected to display similar diversity, with representation from more than one continent and at least four countries.
By linking scholars from North and South as well as East and West, IPSA seeks to strengthen the networks that underpin a global political science community. Such linkages put political science in a stronger position to contribute to the quality of public deliberation and decision-making as well as to the understanding of an increasingly interconnected political world. Ultimately, IPSA supports the role of political science in empowering men and women to participate more effectively in political life, whether within or beyond the states in which they live.
Statement on Academic Freedoms
IPSA’s Mission Statement declares that IPSA aims ‘to support the academic freedoms needed for the social sciences to flourish’. This ‘Statement on Academic Freedoms’ from IPSA’s Council reinforces IPSA’s commitment to safeguarding these principles. The IPSA Council is the General Assembly of the International Political Science Association.
IPSA was founded under the auspices of UNESCO, and it further endorses the UNESCO ‘Recommendations on the status of higher education personnel’, adopted in 1997 (version française). These ‘Recommendations’ cover universities and colleges, and also research institutions not directly linked to such institutions. All UN member states subscribe to these very full provisions for the definition of, and protection of, academic freedoms. These provisions express an international consensus on the importance and meaning of academic freedoms.
IPSA regards these provisions as the necessary minimum to ensure that political scientists can work freely and effectively in undertaking their research and teaching, and in disseminating their ideas and results to colleagues and the public, nationally as well as internationally. In addition many nations and professional bodies have similar, though sometimes more detailed statements of principles, protections and standards, which IPSA respects.
IPSA understands academic freedoms to include the free exchange of ideas that is vitally necessary for scientific endeavour and debate. Arbitrary and politically motivated arrest, and personal and professional harassment, are egregious violations of basic human rights, and such violations pose a clear and present danger to academic freedoms.
Academic freedoms can also be seriously compromised through indirect measures, involving retention, promotion and tenure policies, performance and research management systems, changes in funding for research and resources, or alterations in the teaching curriculum. We urge all members not to adopt policies or to participate in activities that are even indirectly in conflict with the UNESCO ‘Recommendations’.
Political scientists will be acutely aware of threats to, and curtailments of, academic freedoms, and will find IPSA’s endorsement of these UNESCO ‘Recommendations’ useful in citing the rights, duties and obligations of our profession in international, national and local contexts. IPSA members may at any time contact IPSA’s Secretariat and Executive Committee members for further advice and support.
IPSA Statement on Academic Freedoms (pdf, 165kb)
Rules & Procedures
IPSA Rules & Procedures (Full text) (pdf, 404kb)