USC Professor Manuel Castells Honored With Prestigious Holberg International Memorial Prize

March 29, 2012

LOS ANGELES — March 29, 2012 — Manuel Castells, University Professor of Communication and Sociology at the University of Southern California, has been awarded Norway’s 2012 Holberg International Memorial Prize, a $775,000 accolade that recognizes outstanding scholarly work in arts and humanities, social science, law and theology.

Castells, who holds the Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is the most cited communication scholar in the world, and was recognized by the Holberg Prize Academic Committee as “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,” the prize committee said of Castells.

USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett said: “The USC academic community is enriched and strengthened when our faculty are honored for extraordinary achievements in research and scholarship. In receiving the prestigious Holberg Prize for his multidisciplinary work illuminating the transformative power of new communication technologies with respect to political and economic institutions, University Professor Castells clearly demonstrates why he has long occupied a preeminent position among his field’s most distinguished scholars.”

Castells is the author of 22 academic books and editor or co-author of 21 additional books, as well as over 100 articles in academic journals. His latest work, Communication Power (Oxford University Press: 2009), a detailed treatment of power and the structure and dynamics of communications in the modern world, was lauded by the prize committee: “Castells has taken thinking about ‘the political’ to an entirely new level through his prescient account of the emergence of and interaction between new forms of power in the age of the network society.”

At USC, Castells is one of a small and distinguished group of scholars designated as a University Professor, an honor awarded on the basis of multi-disciplinary interests and significant accomplishments in several fields. He holds appointments in the sociology department, the USC School of International Relations and the USC Price School of Public Policy, in addition to his primary appointment at USC Annenberg.

“Manuel Castells is the preeminent example of a scholar who is a committed teacher, devoted mentor, faculty leader and researcher who provides a deep and comprehensive understanding of how new communication breakthroughs impact our increasingly networked society,” said USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III. “We are honored to have Professor Castells as a colleague, and celebrate with him the recognition he so greatly deserves as the world’s leading communication scholar.”

Castells is also research professor at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in Barcelona, Spain, and Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, where he was Professor of City and Regional Planning and Professor of Sociology from 1979 to 2003 before joining USC.

Castells was a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Technology and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2004 to 2009; Distinguished Visiting Professor of Technology and Society at Santa Clara University from 2006 to 2010; and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Internet Studies at Oxford University from 2006 to 2010. He has lectured in over 300 academic institutions in 46 countries, has been awarded 14 honorary doctorates from universities in 11 countries and has won medals of honor from five governments.

Castells, a native of Spain, grew up in Valencia and Barcelona. He studied law and economics at the Universities of Barcelona and Paris and received a doctorate in sociology and a doctorate in human sciences from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He moved to the United States in 1979.

Castells’ expertise in communications has earned him, among other distinguished awards, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the C. Wright Mills Award from the American Society for the Study of Social Problems, Spain’s National Prize of Sociology and Political Science, the Eramus Medal of Science from the Academia Aeuropea, the Robert and Helen Lynd Award from the American Sociological Association for his lifelong contribution to community and urban sociology, and the Oxford Institute Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Holberg Prize was established by the Norwegian parliament in 2003. It, along with the Nils Klim Prize, is awarded annually by the Board of the Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund. The main purpose of the prizes is to raise the status of the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology. The 2012 Holberg Prize will be awarded in Bergen, Norway, on June 6, 2012. More information is available here:

About the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Located in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism ( is a national leader in education and scholarship in the fields of communication, journalism, public diplomacy and public relations. With an enrollment of more than 2,200 students, USC Annenberg offers doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degree programs, as well as continuing development programs for working professionals, across a broad scope of academic inquiry. The school’s comprehensive curriculum emphasizes the core skills of leadership, innovation, service and entrepreneurship and draws upon the resources of a networked university located in the media capital of the world.

About the University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international trade, USC enrolls more international students than any other U.S. university and offers extensive opportunities for internships and study abroad. With a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education, USC fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge.

Contact information:
Information about the Holberg International Memorial Prize and this year’s awards:
Professor Jan Fridthjof Bernt, Chair of the Board of the Ludvig Holberg Memorial Fund
tel.: (+47) 55 58 95 80

Trine Kleven, Project Manager, the Holberg Prize
tel.: (+47) 55 58 69 92, mob.: (+47) 95 94 01 14

University of Southern Caliifornia media contacts:
Suzanne Wu, Associate Director, Research Communications
tel.: (+01) 213 740 0252

Gretchen Parker, Public Communications Manager, USC Annenberg
tel.” (+01) 213 740 6302

Contact: USC News at (213) 740-2215 or