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Castells Honored for Lifetime Contributions in the Field of Sociology

posted September 16, 1998

Manuel Castells, professor of sociology and city and regional planning, and chair of the Center for Western European Studies, has received one of the highest honors in his field, the American Sociological Association's Robert and Helen Lynd Award for distinguished career contributions to community and urban sociology.

During his three decades in sociology, Castells has published 17 books, including "The City and the Grassroots," winner of the 1983 C. Wright Mills Award, and culminating in the monumental trilogy "The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture." That work has been compared to Daniel Bell's classic, "The Coming of Post-Industrial Society," and, in a London Times review, to the founding book of modern sociology, Max Weber's "Economy and Society."

In selecting Castells, the Lynd Award committee cited a letter of nomination, which it said summarizes Castell's lifetime contributions to the field: "Manuel Castells's stellar achievement," the writer said, "has been to unite the study of urban and community sociology with core social theory &emdash; gaining, in the course of his intellectual career, the respect and attention of a wide audience among academics and practitioners in many different fields.

"He was one of the first to develop a 'new' urban sociology that owed nothing to the Chicago School, was truly comparative and shaped a critical perspective that urban sociology had sorely lacked. His life and work were global before the word became a trend. . . ."

Born in Spain in 1942, Castells speaks five languages, holds an LLB and a PhD in urban sociology from the University of Paris, and has been a professor of sociology at the Universities of Paris and Madrid. He joined the Berkeley faculty in 1979. In 1995 he was appointed to the European Commission's High Level Expert Group on the Information Society.

Castells accepted the Lynd Award from the community and urban sociology section of the American Sociological Association at the association's annual meeting, held in San Francisco in August.


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