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Juan José Linz

Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences 1987

Professor of Political and Social Sciences at the University of Yale (US), Juan José Linz (Bonn, Germany, 1926 - New Haven, United States), graduated in Economics and Political Science, and Law, from the University of Madrid, and doctor in Sociology from Columbia University, New York, he was the undoubted leader of a whole school of sociologists, the one who has had the greatest influence upon young Spanish students in his speciality.

The child of a German father and a Spanish mother, in 1932 moved to Spain, where he studied at high school, followed by degrees in Economics and Political Sciences, and Law, at the University of Madrid, where he won the graduation prize in Politics. Receiving a grant in 1950, he studied sociology at the University of Columbia, New York, where he obtained his PhD with a study into German elections.

He returned to Spain in 1958 and carried out a study into Spanish businessmen. In 1961 he went back to New York as a lecturer at the University of Colombia. after teaching for one semester at the newly-established Autonomous University of Madrid, he moved to Yale University in 1968. he has also taught in the Universities of Berkeley, Stanford and Heidleberg, and in the European University Institute in Florence. he has been a Fellow of the Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and the Wissenschaftkolleg in Berlin.

His research and publications have addressed totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, the comparative sociology of fascism, the bankruptcy of democracies, transitions to democracy, types of democratic regimes (especially presidentialism), nationalisms, religion and politics, political parties, electoral sociology, political, local, business and intellectual elites, and the social history of Spain. His works have been published in English, Italian, German, Portuguese, French, Russian, Turkish, Japanese and Korean. Noteworthy among these are: Democracia presidencial o parlamentaria ¿qué diferencia implica?, El sistema de partidos en España, Michels y su contribución a la sociología política, Informe sobre el cambio político en España 1975 - 1981, Élites locales y cambio social en la Andalucía rural, Conflicto en Euskadi and Early State Building and Late Peripheral Nationalism against the State.

Linz was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academia Europaea and a Fellow of the British Academy. He was chair of the World Association of Public Opinion Research, member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Sociology and chair of the same association’s Committee of Political Sociology. He was elected Member of Honour of the Spanish Federation of Sociology in 1992. He sat on the editorial board of different specialized journals.

He was awarded honorary degrees from the Universities of Granada, Georgetown, Marburg, Oslo and the Autonomous University of Madrid. He won the 1981 European Essay Prize for his book La caída de los regímenes democráticos [The Fall of Democratic Regimes]. In 1996, he was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science in Uppsala (Sweden).

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