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Jean Laponce (1925–2016)

The International Political Science Review (IPSR) editors are sad to announce the death of Jean Laponce, involved in IPSA from its beginnings and passionately committed to developing and strengthening an international political science community. He was responsible for two very significant initiatives while he was IPSA president (1973-76).  One was to propose that IPSA create its own journal. The other was the decision to support the development of political science in the Soviet Union by holding the 1979 IPSA World Congress in Moscow.

In 1976 the IPSA Council responded to Laponce’s suggestion to establish a journal by mandating him to investigate its feasibility.  After four years of planning the journal came into being in 1980, with John Meisel as its founding editor. Laponce was never far away and he joined Meisel as co-editor in 1985, a position he held until 2002.

In his many years as editor and on the IPSA executive committee he was helping to build bridges between East and West and maintaining personal friendships in countries around the world.  He was also responsible for the creation of two IPSA Research Committees: political geography (RC 15) and the politics of language (RC50). He became invaluable as a font of knowledge on the arcane workings of IPSA.   

Past and present IPSR editors have benefited immensely from the legacy of Jean Laponce, the journal’s godfather and longest-serving editor.  We try to emulate his openness to new ideas and new sources of knowledge, while maintaining his commitment to high standards of scholarship.  A symbol of the editors’ high regard for Jean is that we have named the award made every four years for the best article published in IPSR the Meisel-Laponce Award.

Theresa Reidy, Marian Sawer and Mark Kesselman
IPSR co-editors

Jean Laponce in Memoriam (1925-2016)

The whole IPSA family was saddened to learn that Jean Laponce has passed away. Jean Laponce was a true pillar of IPSA/AISP. Of his many contributions and achievements, the development of the International Political Science Review (IPSR), our increasingly influential publication, stands out in particular prominence.

Those who had the privilege of getting to know him personally will remember him for his warm personality, modesty, and constant energy in carrying the IPSA flag forward. Those who may not have met him will recognize his name as a scholar whose contribution to IPSA is recognized by the Meisel-Laponce Award, which was established in 2012 to recognize the contribution of him and John Meisel to the establishment of the IPSR. Additionally, Jean Laponce served successfully as President of IPSA from 1973 to 1976 and made his mark on the association. Jean Laponce’s another important contribution to IPSA was to establish the Research Committee 15 on Political and Cultural Geography and the Research Committee 50 on Language and Politics.

On behalf of the IPSA and the global political science community, we would like to express our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues. We will miss him. May he rest in peace.

İlter Turan

IPSA President

Born in Decize sur Loire, Jean Laponce studied at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris and at the University of California, Los Angeles. He taught at the University of British Columbia where he was an Emeritus Professor. He also taught at University of Ottawa and at the University Aiki Shukutoku in Nagoya. Member of the IPSA Executive Committee from 1966 to 1972, he was President from 1973 to 1976. He joined John Meisel to co-edit the journal IPSR in 1985. He is the author of The Protection of Minorities, 1961; The Government of France under the Fifth Republic, 1962, People vs Politics, 1970; Left and Right, 1981; Languages and Their Territories, 1984; Loi de Babel et autres régularités des rapports entre langue et politique, 2006; Le Référendum de Souveraineté, 2010. He established, with Jean Gottmann, the IPSA Research Committee 15 - Political and Cultural Geography. He also created the IPSA Research Committee 50 - Language and Politics.

International Political Science Review (IPSR) - Volume 37, Number 5, November 2016

In this issue:

Measuring the Quality of Democracy

Guest editors: Marianne Kneuer, Brigitte Geissel and Hans-Joachim Lauth


Measuring the quality of democracy: Introduction
Brigitte Geissel, Marianne Kneuer, and Hans-Joachim Lauth

Measuring high level democratic principles using the V-Dem data
Michael Coppedge, Staffan Lindberg, Svend-Erik Skaaning, and Jan Teorell

Freedom and equality in democracies: Is there a trade-off?
Heiko Giebler and Wolfgang Merkel
The internal relationships of the dimensions of democracy: The relevance of trade-offs for measuring the quality of democracy
Hans-Joachim Lauth
What is the impact of the economic crisis on democracy? Evidence from Europe
Leonardo Morlino and Mario Quaranta
Putting the demos back into the concept of democratic quality
Quinton Mayne and Brigitte Geissel

Measuring the quality of democracy: Why include the citizens’ perspective?
Susanne Pickel, Wiebke Breustedt, and Theresia Smolka

Should participatory opportunities be a component of democratic quality? The role of citizen views in resolving a conceptual controversy
Brigitte Geissel
E-democracy: A new challenge for measuring democracy
Marianne Kneuer

Going historical: Measuring democraticness before the age of mass democracy  
Carl Henrik Knutsen, Jørgen Møller, and Svend-Erik Skaaning
Introduction to Alfred C Stepan, ‘Chasing questions through five continents’

A life in comparative politics: Chasing questions in five continents
Alfred Stepan