Manuel Castells: Power in the Digital Age

14th Annual Nicos Poulantzas Memorial Lecture

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The 14th Annual Nicos Poulantzas Memorial Lecture will be held online due to the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 pandemic, on Thursday, December 10th, 2020, at 7.00 p.m. (EET). Nicos Poulantzas Institute established the Annual Memorial Lecture aiming at presenting prominent intellectual figures from the international Left to the Greek public.

10th December 2020
18:00 (CET)

Lecture in English original, Introduction and Comment in English translation
for the stream of the lecture in Greek visit Nikos Poulantzas Institute

The well-known Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells will be the guest speaker of this year’s Annual Nicos Poulantzas Memorial Lecture, his speech is entitled “Power in the digital age: The legacy of Poulantzas theory in the new historical context”.

It will be a highly topical disquisition on issues that acquire great immediate interest. The imposed social distancing measures shift within the digital world not only the majority of the economical activities as well as the most aspects of everyday life but also the political sphere itself.

Costis Hadjimichalis, Professor Emeritus of Harokopio University and member of NPI, will introduce the speaker on behalf of the Nikos Poulantzas Institute. Nicos Poulantzas Institute established the Annual Memorial Lecture aiming at presenting prominent intellectual figures from the international Left to the Greek public.

Questions for Manuel Castells can be sent in advance in the email address under the subject “Annual lecture”.

About speaker:

Manuel Castells was born in 1942 in Valencia, Spain. He is one of the most prominent thinkers of our time. His work was influenced by the thought of Nikos Poulantzas, who was also a friend of him.

Castells was politically active in the student anti-Franco movement and due to his political action was forced to flee Spain for France. He began his academic career in Paris as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Paris and later as an Associate Professor at École des Hautes Études en Sciences. Due to his political action during the events of May ’68 was forced to emigrate once again to Switzerland and Canada. He returned in Paris after two years and he remained there until 1979, when he began teaching as a Professor of Sociology and Urban and Regional Planning at Berkeley University. a position that Castells held until 2003.

Between 2004 and 2010 he held multi-year appointments as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2004-2009), at Oxford University (2007-2010) and at Santa Clara University (2008-2010) and at Cambridge University (2012-2014). From 2004 to 2010, he was Director of the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Open University of Catalonia. Since 2009 he is a permanent Visiting Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, in South Africa from 2011. He has been a Visiting Professor in 17 universities around the world and invited lecturer at hundreds of academic and professional institutions in 45 countries.

He has authored 26 books, including the trilogy “The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture”, 1996-2003, published by Blackwell and translated in 23 languages. He has also co-authored and edited additional 22 books.

He has received, among other distinctions, the Guggenheim Fellowship, 1982; the C. Wright Mills Award from the American Society for the Study of Social Problems, 1983; the Robert and Helen Lynd Award from the American Sociological Association, 1998; the Order of the Lion of Finland and the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Government, 2002; the Ithiel de Sola Pool Award from the American Political Science Association, 2004; the Order Gabriela Mistral from the President of Chile, 2005; the Order of Santiago from the President of Portugal and the Cross of St. Jordi from the Government of Catalonia, 2006; the National Prize of Sociology and Political Science from Spain, 2008; the Erasmus Medal of the Academia Europaea, 2011; the Holberg Prize 2012 from the Norwegian Government; Balzan Prize for Sociology from International Balzan Prize Foundation, in 2013; Eulalio Ferrer Prize and International Award UCLG – MEXICO City – Culture21, 2014.

He has received Honorary Doctorates from 15 universities in Europe, North America, Latin America, and Asia as well as several honorary professorships and university medals. He is a numerary academician of the Spanish Royal Academy of Economics and Finance, an academic of the Academia Europea, of the British Academy, of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

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 member of the United Nations Secretary General´s Advisory Panel on the Global Civil Society. In 2005 he was appointed by the European Commission to be a founding member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council. In 2008 he was appointed to the Governing Board of the new European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) created by the European Union to stimulate the research cooperation between universities, business and society.

Since January 2020, he has held the position of Minister for Universities in the Spanish Government.

About “Nicos Poulantzas Memorial Lecture”:

The annual “Nicos Poulantzas Memorial Lecture” was launched in December 2007 and has been continuously delivered since then by eminent intellectuals from different countries on a theoretical issue of their choice. The Lecture is not intended to deal narrowly with Nicos Poulantzas’ work, but with the many issues and theoretical perspectives it covers, such as Marxism, socialism and social emancipation, world capitalism, the role of the state, social classes, political economy, political ecology, social movements etc. which at the same time can be useful in political practice.

The first lecture was given by Professor Bob Jessop (“Political Economy, Political Ecology and Democratic Socialism”), the second by Professor Leo Panitch (“The State in the Current Capitalist Crisis and the Strategy of the Left in the 21st century”), the third by Professor Judith Butler (“Performative Politics and the Critique of State Violence”), the fourth by Professor Michael Lebowitz (“Building Socialism for the 21stCentury. The Logic of the State”), the fifth by Professor Erik Olin Wright (“Real Utopias in and beyond Capitalism”), the sixth by Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (“Europa and the Bull Market”), the seventh by Professor Frank Deppe (“Authoritarian Capitalism: Democracy in decline”), the eighth by Professor Enzo Traverso (“Remembering the Future: the Political Uses of the Past”), the ninth by Professor Wendy Brown (“Neoliberalism Contra Democracy: Ten Theses”), the tenth by Professor Nancy Fraser (“Crisis of Care? On the Social Reproductive Contradictions of Financialized Capitalism”),the eleventh by Professor Angela Davis (“Abolition Feminism: Theory and Practices”) the twelfth by Professor Michael Löwy (Rosa Luxemburg, 1919-2019: Socialism or Barbarism, Internationalism or Nationalism) and the thirteenth by Professor Klaus Dörre (The Bonapartist Exception: Workers, Pincer Crisis and the Revolt from the Right).