Prof. Manuel Castells, Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication Technology and Society at the University of Southern California, and permanent Visiting Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) has been awarded the 2012 Holberg International Memorial Prize for “outstanding scholarly work in the fields of the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology.”
The prize was established in 2003 by the government of Norway to raise an awareness of the value of academic scholarship within the arts, humanities, social sciences, law and theology, either within one of these fields or through interdisciplinary work. It is widely perceived to complement the Nobel prizes which do not cover these fields and is worth 4.5 million Norwegian kroner (about €570 000).
The 2012 citation of the Holberg Prize Academic Committee reads: “Manuel Castells is the leading sociologist of the city and new information and media technologies. His ideas and writings have shaped our understanding of the political dynamics of urban and global economies in the network society. He 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 first spent time at STIAS in 2009. He returned in 2011 and as part of his fellowship programme conducted a far-reaching three day workshop at the STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre on “Informational Development and Human Development: South Africa in a Global Perspective”, attended by academics and high profile representatives from the business and governmental communities, including three Directors General and representatives from the Treasury, Department of Economic Development, and Department of Communication. He is expected back at STIAS in 2013.
Castells will receive the Holberg Prize on 6 June 2012 at a ceremony in Bergen, the city where Ludvig Holberg was born in 1684. The award will be presented by the Crown Prince of Norway. Previous recipients of the prize include the philosophers Jürgen Habermas and Ian Hacking.
Caption: Manuel Castells at STIAS