Manuel Castells awarded the Holberg Prize, considered Sociology’s Nobel

The Barcelona-raised sociologist Manuel Castells has received the 2012 Holberg International Memorial Prize in Bergen, Norway. This award is considered to be the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in the field of sociology. The jury considered his book ‘Communication Power’ to be “essential for a new understanding of politics”. Castells holds the Wallis Annenberg Chair at the University of Southern California, he is Research Professor at Catalonia’s distance-learning university (UOC) and Professor Emeritus at the University of California (Berkeley).


June 7, 2012 11:46 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The sociologist Manuel Castells has received the 2012 Holberg International Memorial Prize, considered to be the Nobel Prize in Sociology. Barcelona-raised Castells received the award on Wednesday evening in Bergen (Norway) from the Norwegian Crown Princess Mette-Marit. The international jury recognised Castells as the world’s “leading sociologist of the city and new information and media technologies”, adding that “his ideas and writings have shaped our understanding of the political dynamics of urban and global economies in the network society”. The jury considers his book from 2009 ‘Communication Power’ to be “essential for a new understanding of politics”. Nowadays Manuel Castells is University Professor and Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication Technology and Society at the University of Southern California (USC), in Los Angeles, teaching at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. In addition, since 2001, he is Research Professor at the Open University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, UOC), which is a distance-learning centre. At the UOC, he has been directing the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) since 2008. Furthermore, he is Professor Emeritus, at the University of California, Berkeley, where he developed his earlier career and taught for 24 years.

The Holberg International Memorial Prize was created by the Norwegian Parliament to fill the lack of a Nobel Prize in the fields of social sciences, humanities, law and theology. The prize honours Norwegian humanist Ludvig Holberg, who was born in Bergen in 1684. It is awarded every year by the Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund on the basis of the recommendation from the Holberg Prize Academic Committee, formed by outstanding scholars in the academic fields covered by the prize. The award comes with 4.5 million Norwegian krone, equivalent to €570,000.

The jury emphasised that Castells “has illuminated the underlying power structures of the great technological revolutions of our time and their consequences. He has helped us to understand how social and political movements have co-evolved with the new information technologies”.

Castells has received many awards, in Catalonia and abroad. He is also a member of the US Academy of Political and Social Sciences, the British Academy, the Spanish Academy, and the Mexican Academy. The Catalan sociologist has written 25 books, his most famous work being the trilogy ‘The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture’ (1996-98), which has been translated into 20 languages and has become a worldwide reference book for the study of information and communication technologies.