This year’s Asturias prize for Communication and Humanities has been awarded in Oviedo, northern Spain.
It is the third of Crown Prince Felipe’s eight annual gifts in recognition of outstanding achievements in their fields.
Richard Serra has won arts, and the Xi’an Imperial Warriors archeologists from China have picked up Social Sciences.
23 candidates from 13 countries were in the running for a Jean Miro sculpture and 50,000 euros.
But in the 29th year of the awards the jury has weighed two candidate’s merits in the balance and found neither wanting, so step up Zygmunt Bauman and Alain Touraine.
Touraine is a grand old rune-reader of French Sociology, a pillar of its intellectual establishment, and the coiner of the phrase “post-industrial society”. He is enormously popular in latin America and continental Europe. Yet of his 20 books only half have been translated for the English-speaking world, where he is less recognised.
However following in Conrad’s footsteps, but in non-fiction, Polish-born but Leed-based Zygmunt Bauman has brought nearly 50 Sociological works into the English language, and a critique, “liquid society”, that resonates in the now. It is dark, but the light he suggests, striving for “goodness” rather than “good”, is remarkable for an 82 year-old.