The Oxford Internet Institute presented one of its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Awards to communication professor Manuel Castells, holder of the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication Technology and Society, in recognition of his contributions to sociology and communication research.
"I feel deeply honored, and humbled by this distinction from one of the leading academic research institutions in the world specializing in the study of the Internet, the fabric of our lives in this digital age," Castells said. "The esteem of colleagues as distinguished as the faculty of the Oxford Internet Institute is for me the most precious reward for a life dedicated to research and teaching in the interest of science and society."
He joined computer scientist and "father of the Internet" Vint Cerf and Skype creator Niklas Zenstrom as winners of Lifetime Achievement Awards at a recent gala dinner held at Balliol College.
"The Lifetime Achievement Awards are intended to honor individuals who have played a uniquely significant and long-lasting role in shaping the Internet," the Oxford Internet Institute said in a statement. "As the most influential theorist of society and the Internet to date, Manuel Castells was an obvious candidate. We particularly commend him for his seminal contribution to the understanding of the network society."
Castells holds joint appointments in USC's Department of Sociology, in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development, and in the School of International Relations. He is also a research professor at the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona, 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. He was born in Spain in 1942 and grew up in Valencia and Barcelona. He studied law and economics at the Universities of Barcelona and Paris. He 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.
Among other distinguished appointments he was a member of the United Nations Secretary General's Advisory Board on Information Technology and Global Development, and a founding board member of the European Research Council. He is also a member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Technology.
He accepted the Erasmus Medal on Sept. 21 for his "brilliant and comprehensive work on the transformation of society by the revolution in information and communication technologies, as well as a systematic understanding of the new communication environment of social practices in a global perspective."