Robert A. Dahl

Dahl teaching a political science class at [[Yale University]] Robert Alan Dahl (; December 17, 1915 – February 5, 2014) was a political theorist and Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He established the pluralist theory of democracy—in which political outcomes are enacted through competitive, if unequal, interest groups—and introduced "polyarchy" as a descriptor of actual democratic governance. An originator of "empirical theory" and known for advancing behavioralist characterizations of political power, Dahl's research focused on the nature of decision making in actual institutions, such as American cities. He is the most important scholar associated with the pluralist approach to describing and understanding both city and national power structures. In addition to his work on the descriptive theory of democracy, he was long occupied with the formulation of the constituent elements of democracy considered as a theoretical but realizable ideal. By virtue of the cogency, clarity, and veracity of his portrayal of some of the key characteristics of realizable-ideal democracy, as well as his descriptive analysis of the dynamics of modern pluralist-democracy, he is considered one of the greatest theorists of democracy in history.

Dahl received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 1936 and his Ph.D. from Yale in 1940. He served on Yale's political science faculty from 1946 to 1986. His influential early books include ''A Preface to Democratic Theory'' (1956), ''Who Governs?'' (1961), and ''Pluralist Democracy in the United States'' (1967), which presented pluralistic explanations for political rule in the United States. He was elected president of the American Political Science Association in 1966. Provided by Wikipedia