John P. McCormick is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. His research interests include political thought in Renaissance Florence; nineteenth- and twentieth-century Continental political and social theory; the philosophy and sociology of law; the normative dimensions of European integration; and contemporary democratic theory. He is the author of Carl Schmitt’s Critique of Liberalism: Against Politics as Technology (Cambridge University Press, 1997) and Weber, Habermas, and Transformations of the European State: Constitutional, Social, and Supranational Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2006). McCormick has published numerous articles in scholarly journals such as the American Political Science Review and Political Theory.
At Radcliffe, McCormick will complete a book titled “Machiavellian Democracy.” This project is motivated by compelling evidence suggesting that economic resources, more than votes, decisively determine policy in contemporary democracies, especially in the United States, and that election, the institutional centerpiece of modern popular government, is a less than robust means of keeping public officials accountable. The political writings of Niccolò Machiavelli provide the portal through which McCormick retrieves forgotten or abandoned republican practices of elite accountability. He will propose reforms that combine aspects of premodern accountability measures—most important, the tribunes of the plebs in republican Rome, which earned Machiavelli’s highest praise.
McCormick has been a Fulbright Scholar in Bremen, Germany, and a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, and has received multiple research awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Boston Globe devoted a feature to his work in July 2006.