It is award number five in the Prince of Asturias prize giving season. The jury spent a day deliberating the merits of the 36 eminent contributors to the field of Social Sciences who were nominated for the 50 000 euro prize, and the Jean Miro statue that goes with it.
But it is the prestige that is the most valued aspect of the Asturias, second only to the Nobels in terms of scope and international recognition. The prize was inaugurated in 1980 by Spain’s crown prince Felipé, and is supported by his foundation.
This year’s winner, Tzvetan Todorov, is a Bulgarian-born philosopher. The 69 year-old Todorov has lived in Paris since the early 1960’s, and along with Roland Barthes was a champion of structuralism.
His many books have been translated into 25 languages, and much of his work has been devoted to understanding the effects of colonialism xenophobia, and totalitarianism, and how our understanding of others, or lack of it, effects our actions.