Document Type



​Public Policy and Law

Publication Date



Vincent Ostrom challenged epistemic choices at the foundation of modern political science and proposed an alternative conceptualization of democracy based on a theory of federalism he derived from The Federalist and Tocqueville's Democracy in America. This essay examines Vincent Ostrom's critique of contemporary mainstream political theorizing, relates his original theoretical work to the empirical research Elinor Ostrom, other colleagues, and he conducted, advised, or sponsored at The Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis Indiana University, and concludes that "Ostrom's democratic alternative" constitutes an alternative scientific paradigm as defined by Thomas Kuhn. The paper concludes with a comment on the continuing relevance of Ostrom's critique in the post-9/11 era.


Author's manuscript provided by the Trinity College Digital Repository in accordance with the publisher's distribution policies.

Published version available:

Michael Fotos. “Vincent Ostrom’s Revolutionary Science of Association.” Public Choice (January 30, 2015).