Henry Farrell

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Henry Farrell is an associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. He specializes in institutional theory, politics and the Internet (with a particular focus on blogs), the internal politics of the European Union and its relations with the United States, and theories of trust. '

Social capital

With Jack Knight, he has written on the role of trust in social capital theory, starting from the analysis of trust among institutions.

And as institutions change, trust between individuals is also likely to change, perhaps

in predictable ways. This further suggests that we might learn something about the conditions under which trust and social capital will emerge and be maintained in a society by studying the ways in which social institutions evolve in the

same society [1]

Academic harassment

He hosts the Crooked Timber blog on the interactions of media and politics, and has criticized David Horowitz's attacks on academic expression.

In order successfully to argue against him, it’s necessary to recognize that the battle Horowitz is fighting is political rather than strictly academic. He’s not acting as an academic interlocutor (some conservatives and other critics are, and they should be treated very differently). He’s acting as a politician and looking to win political changes outside the academy that would radically reshape its internal practices. Indeed, he’s entirely right. The argument over whether or not the university will survive as a place where people of different political points of view can teach, debate and carry out research without being hauled up before state legislatures is a political argument in the Weberian sense; it’s an argument about the extent to which a particular set of values (the academic vocation that Weber describes) should hold sway over a limited area of social life.[2]


  • Ph.D. (2000), Department of Government, Georgetown University. Dissertation, Major Comprehensive (Comparative Politics) and Minor Comprehensives (Political Theory and German and European Studies), all awarded with Distinction.
  • M.A. (2000) In German and European Studies, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (completed jointly with Ph.D).
  • M.A. (1993) In Politics, University College Dublin, Awarded with First Class Honours.
  • B.A. (1991) In Politics (First Class Honours) and Economics (Second Class Honours Grade One), University College Dublin.


  1. Henry Farrell, Jack Knight (December 2003), Politics & Society 31 (4): 537-566, DOI:10.1177/0032329203256954
  2. Henry Farrell (11 June 2007), "Why We Shouldn't Play Nice with David Horowitz: A Response to What's Liberal with Liberal Arts", Crooked Timber