Jean Blondel (born Toulon, 26 October 1929) is a French political scientist specialising in comparative politics. He is currently Emeritus Professor at the European University Institute in Florence, and visiting professor at the University of Siena. He lives in London.
He graduated from the Institut d'Études Politiques of Paris in 1953. He studied at St Antony's College (Oxford) from 1953 to 1955, graduating with a B.Litt. He returned to France for military service, returning to Britain to study the relations between central and local government at Manchester University. He was a lecturer at the University College of North Staffordshire (now Keele University) from 1958 to 1963, a fellow at Yale University in 1963-4 and then moved to the University of Essex in 1964, where he founded the Department of Government. He started the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) in 1969 and directed it for ten years following its foundation meeting in 1970. Having left Essex in 1984, he was appointed scholar of the Russell Sage Foundation in New York in 1984 before becoming professor of political science at the European University Institute in Florence from 1985 to 1994. He holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Salford and Essex in the United Kingdom, Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium, Turku in Finland, and Siena in Italy.
He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and of the Academia Europaea. In 2004 he was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science "for his outstanding contribution to the professionalisation of European political science, both as a pioneering comparativist and an institution builder".
Blondel is particularly noted for the contributions he has made to the theory of party systems, the comparative study of cabinets, and the relations between parties and governments.
In honour of his work, the ECPR has since October 2003 awarded the annual Jean Blondel PhD Prize for the best thesis in politics nominated by a member institution in a given year.
His work has focused recently in a comparison of different presidential systems across the globe, with a particular emphasis on Latin America, Africa and the ex-Soviet republics. It seeks to be amongst the first comprehensive studies of different presidential systems. His new book is "Presidents and Democracy in Latin America" edited with Manuel Alcantara and Jean-Louis Thiebault.