ALMOND, GABRIEL ABRAHAM


ALMOND, GABRIEL ABRAHAM
ALMOND, GABRIEL ABRAHAM (1911–2002), U.S. political scientist, credited with inventing modern comparative political science. Born in Rock Island, Illinois, Almond was the son of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants. His father was a rabbi. A student at the University of Chicago, he went on to earn his doctorate in 1938; but his thesis, Plutocracy and Politics in New York City, was not published until 1998. The work contained psychoanalyses of several wealthy New Yorkers, including unflattering references to John D. Rockefeller, a principal benefactor of the university. Charles Merriam, chair of the political science department, refused to recommend the thesis for publication unless the offending material was removed. Almond refused. The thesis remained in the stacks of the University of Chicago library, where it became an underground classic among scholars. It was finally published by Westview Press. Almond taught political science at Brooklyn College from 1939. During World War II he was head of the Enemy Information Section at the War Information Office (1942–44). After the war he was professor of political science at Princeton, Yale, and Stanford. He also taught at universities in England, Japan, Brazil, and the Ukraine. He was elected chairman of the Social Science Research Council's Committee on Comparative Politics and, in 1966, president of the American Political Science Association. Almond's Appeals of Communism (1954), an empirical study of the attractions and weaknesses of Communism, was significant for its treatment of the psycho-sociological background of political behavior. Almond's major contribution in this field was the recognition of a cultural dimension in politics, and its application in the first nationwide study of political culture (G. Almond and S. Verba, The Civic Culture (1963). The book examines the differences in the political cultures of five countries and looks at how these influence each nation's stability and prospects for democracy. Almond also developed the "functional approach" to comparative politics. Later he turned increasingly to problems concerned with the theory of political development as seen in "A Developmental Approach to Political Systems" (World Politics, 17 (1964–65), 183–214), and in G. Almond and G.B. Powell Jr., Comparative Politics: A Developmental Approach (1966). Other books by Almond include Political Development: Essays in Heuristic Theory (1970); The American People and Foreign Policy (1977); Comparative Politics: System, Process, and Policy (1978); Sects in Political Science (1989); The Civic Culture Revisited (1992); Comparative Politics Today: A World View (1999); European Politics Today (1998, 2001); Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms around the World (2002); Discipline Divided: Schools & The Ventures in Political Science: Narratives & Reflections (2002). (Moshe M. Czudnowski / Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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