Biography of Carlos Moya Valgañón

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Carlos Moya Valgañón
  • Carlos Moya Valgañón was born in Cordoba on 10 June 1936. The son of persecuted Republican teachers, his childhood was spent between different towns (Sajazarra in La Rioja, Albacete, Valencia) that the family moved to. After finishing his Law Degree at the Universidad de Valencia in 1957, he received a pre-doctoral grant from the Fundación Oriol y Urquijo to further his studies at the University of Cologne, in Germany. He spent three years in Cologne, from 1958 to 1961, in the Department of Sociology, which, at that time, was run by Rene König, one of the most notable figures in post-war German and European sociology. It was here that he directed his academic vocation definitively towards the study of sociology, an area to which he subsequently dedicated his research, publications and teaching.
  • Upon his return from Germany, he presented his doctoral thesis on "Problemas fundamentales de la teoría sociológica: de Marx a Durkheim y al estructural-funcionalismo" ('Fundamental problems in sociological theory: from Marx to Durkheim and structural functionalism') in the Law Faculty of the Universidad de Valencia in November 1963. The result of his years of study in Germany, the thesis takes an ambitious journey through the many roots that fed into the new self-awareness of modernity, which gave rise to Sociology.
  • In 1964, he joined the Universidad Complutense de Madrid as an assistant professor to the Chair of Philosophy of Law, who at the time was Joaquín Ruiz-Giménez. In these surroundings, together with other young university professors and intellectuals, he became a part of a group opposing the dictatorship, headed by Professor Tierno Galván. In this context, he went on to be co-founder of and lecturer in the CEISA (Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones S.A.), the Escuela Crítica de Ciencias Sociales. Designed, organised and managed thanks to the efforts of José Vidal Beneyto, the centre went on to be a driving force in the development of contemporary sociology in Spain. The Franco authorities ordered the centre to be closed in 1968.
  • In 1967 he began to teach the Philosophy of Social Science in the Faculty of Social and Economic Science at the Universidad Complutense. Four years later, he was awarded the Chair of Sociology at the Universidad de Bilbao, moving to its Sarriko Faculty (Economic and Business Sciences) in September 1971. In 1974, he moved again to Madrid in order to manage the Instituto de Ciencias de la Educación of the UNED (distance learning university) and set up its Department of Social Science. During these time he published two books: Sociólogos y sociología (1970) and Teoría sociológica: una introducción crítica (1971); the first brings together a collection of studies in which he undertakes a completely new and enlightening revision of some of the milestones of sociological tradition; the second focuses on the analysis, systematisation and interpretation of contemporary sociological theory at the end of the era dominated by functionalism. At the start of the 1970s, he also published the monograph Burocracia y sociedad industrial (1972), which was a case study of Spain, in the light of the tradition of sociological analysis of the State stemming from German sociology, especially from Max Weber, to whose sociology of bureaucracy he dedicates a revealing chapter. In connection with his study of public bureaucracy, but within the context of the historic sociology of the process of socioeconomic change in Spain arising from the Civil war, in 1975 he published El poder económico en España: 1939-1972. The book is related to his work on "the economic elite and Spanish development", published in the volume "La Sociedad", within the collected works La España de los años 70.
  • In September 1977, he was awarded the position of Chair of Social Change in the Faculty of Political and Social Science of the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, of which he was Dean from 1980 to 1982, as well as running the Department of Sociology I in the remaining years. During this period he published De la ciudad y de su razón. Del logos político a la razón sociológica (1977), a study of great importance that is difficult to classify academically on the historic genealogy of Western thinking and its conversion into sociological reason. Also worthy of mention from this period is the book Teoría Sociológica Contemporánea (1978), co-authored with José Jiménez Blanco, which combines collaborations with several Spanish sociologists that tackle and discuss the main topics of sociology at the end of the 1970s. This period ended with the publication in 1984 of Señas de Leviatán: Estado nacional y sociedad industrial en España, 1936-1980. The book brings together various studies published in previous years, and combines empirical-historical works with others of a theoretical-hermeneutic nature. That same year he published the article "Identidad colectiva: un programa de investigación científica" in the REIS, a work in which he presents an analytical and hermeneutic proposal for the expansion and potential superseding of the narrow limits of the dominant sociology.
  • In 1989, he left the Universidad Complutense to join the Department of Sociology I of the UNED, which he ran for some years and of which he is currently emeritus professor. In the academic year 1994-1995 he went to spend a sabbatical year at the University of California, San Diego; it was here that he began an ambitious study on monotheistic religions and their pre-modern and modern political variants, on which he continues to work today. The result of this line of research has recently appeared in his book Mahoma, Dar-el-Islam y Maimónides: dos ensayos sobre el monoteísmo semita (2008).