Peter Mair

European University Institute International Social Science Council University of Strathclyde

Peter Mair (3 March 1951 – 15 August 2011[1]) was an Irish political scientist. He was professor of Comparative Politics at the European University Institute in Florence.[2]


Peter Mair was born in Rosses Point,[3] County Sligo, Ireland, and studied history and politics at University College Dublin. He continued to work as assistant professor at the University of Limerick, Strathclyde, Manchester and the European University Institute in Florence during the 1980s. In 1987 at Leiden University he gained a doctorate, which as The changing Irish party system became a standard work on the Irish party system. In 1990, he co-authored the book Identity, Competition and Electoral Availability with Stefano Bartolini.[4] It was awarded the ISSC/Unesco Stein Rokkan Prize for Comparative Social Science Research.[5] He continued to work at Leiden University becoming professor of comparative politics in 1994 when he held an inaugural address entitled "Party democracies and their difficulties".[6] In 2001 he became co-editor of the journal West European Politics. In 2005 he returned to the European University Institute to invest time in his research into democracy, indifference and populist parties.

He specialized in comparative politics and specifically in the study of parties and party systems.[7]

Mair died suddenly while on holiday in Connemara with his family.



Journal articles


  1. ^ Death notice, Irish Times, 17 August 2011
  2. ^ Stephen Collins "Death of political scientist Peter Mair", Irish Times, 17 August 2011
  3. ^ Political scientist of worldwide repute, Obituaries, Irish Times, 20 August 2011
  4. ^ Cambridge University Press, 1990, 363 pages
  5. ^ "Prizes". International Social Science Council. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  6. ^ University of Leiden: universitaire drukkerij, 1994, 24pp.
  7. ^ Ware, Alan; Moran, Michael (2012). "Peter Mair (1951–2011)". Government and Opposition. 47: 1–2. doi:10.1111/j.1477-7053.2011.01353.x.