Who is Harold Lasswell?June 25, 2021
Harold Lasswell, full name Harold Dwight Lasswell, lived from February 13, 1902 to December 18, 1978; He is an American political scientist and thinker known for his groundbreaking work in the fields of power relations, personality and politics.
Harold Lasswell is the author of more than 30 books and 250 scientific articles on a variety of topics, including international relations, psychoanalysis, and legal education.
Lasswell received his BA in philosophy and economics from the University of Chicago in 1922, and his PhD from the same school in 1926. He was educated at the Universities of London, Geneva, Paris and Berlin for several summers in the 1920s.
He taught political science at the University of Chicago from 1922 to 1938, and then served at the Washington School of Psychiatry from 1938 to 1939. Harold Laswell was also director of war communications studies at the U.S. Library of Congress from 1939 to 1945.
After World War II, he entered Yale University, where he held various positions until the 1970s, including professor of law, professor of political science, Ford Foundation Professor of Law and Social Sciences, and honorary fellow of Bramford College. He was also a law professor at the John Jay College of the City University of New York and Temple University. He has worked as a visiting professor at campuses around the world and has also served as a consultant to numerous US government agencies.
Lasswell saw political science as the study of changes in the distribution of value patterns in society, and since distribution is power dependent, the focus of his analysis was power dynamics. He defined values as desirable goals, power as the ability to participate in decisions, and explained political power as the ability to produce intended effects on other people.
Among his work on political psychology is his work “Psychopathology and Politics” (1930), which seeks to channel the desire for domination to healthy ends. In this and subsequent work, Lasswell takes a moral stand by calling for the social sciences and sciences to reorient themselves to a science of social policy that will serve the democratic will of justice.
Other features of political science that can be traced back to Lasswell include systems theory, role analysis, and content analysis.
It is possible to list his other important works as follows:
Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927),
World Revolutionary Propaganda (with Dorothy Blumenstock, 1939),
Politics Faces Economics (1946),
The Policy Sciences: Recent Developments in Scope and Method (with Daniel Lerner, 1951),
The Future of Political Science (1963).