Emilio Lamo de Espinosa


  • Doctor in Law from the Complutense University, doctor in Sociology from the University of California-UCSB (1979) where he expanded his studies in the early 70s, and has been Visiting Professor. Since 1982 he has been Professor of Sociology at the Complutense University.
  • He was in charge of the reform of the Spanish University during the first socialist government of Felipe González (1982-1987), a task for which he was awarded the Grand Cross of Alfonso Academiques for services to French culture.
  • For almost ten years (1992-2002) he was director of the Ortega y Gasset University Institute, the largest postgraduate center in social sciences in Spain. From 2002 to 2005, he was in charge, as Director, of founding the Royal Elcano Institute of International and Strategic Studies, the first Spanish think tank in international studies. Between 2007 and 2010 he was President of the Spanish Federation of Sociology, of which he is an Honorary Member.
  • He is an Honorary Doctor from the University of Salamanca, 2014 Otto de Habsburg Prize, Numerary Academician of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, a regular collaborator in the press and patron or advisor of numerous foundations: Spain-United States Council Foundation (of which he is currently vice president), Elcano Royal Institute Foundation, Ortega y Gasset-Marañón Foundation, Carolina Foundation, Spanish Political Transition Foundation, Fernando Pombo Foundation, Prince of Girona Foundation and Botín Foundation. He is also a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Transparency and Integrity.
  • Notable publications: he has published twenty-two books, more than a hundred scientific monographs, and almost 400 press or popular articles, and recognized six six-year researchers. His first publications had to do with the recovery of the heterodox intellectual history of Spain (Politics and Philosophy in Julián Besteiro, 1973) and the criticism of Marxism (Teoría de la reificación. De Marx a la Escuela de Frankfurt, 1981), before write about the sociology of law and social deviance (Crimes without victims, 1989) and, above all, the sociology of knowledge and science (The reflective society, 1990; The sociology of knowledge and science, 1994), his main field research. He has the Jovellanos International Essay Prize for his work Societies of culture and societies of science (1996). More recently he has addressed the study of the emerging transnational society and its governance (Under doors of fire. The new international disorder, 2004; eds. Europe after Europe, 2010). He is also the author, with Salvador Giner and Cristóbal Torres, of the most used Sociology Dictionary in Spanish (Alianza Editorial, 2nd edition, 2007). He has supervised fourteen doctoral theses, and four of them received the Extraordinary Doctorate Award.
National Prize for Sociology and Political Science 2016

The professor at the Complutense University of Madrid, Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, has a doctorate in Law with an extraordinary award in 1973 from the Complutense University, and a doctorate in Sociology from the University of California in Santa Bárbara - where he expanded his studies and where he has been Visiting Professor -. In 1982 he became a professor of sociology at the Complutense University, from which he retired at the end of the last academic year, currently maintaining his status as a member of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences and as an emeritus professor. In between, in 2012, he was named Honoris Causa Doctor by the University of Salamanca.

In the forty-three years that make up this period of activity, Professor Lamo de Espinosa has published twenty-two books and more than a hundred scientific monographs in the form of articles, book chapters or reviews. His first publications had to do, still during the Franco regime, with the recovery of our intellectual history focused on the figure and work of Julián Besteiro and democratic socialism. Also with the constructive criticism of Marxism that he incorporated in his book The Theory of Reification. From Marx to the Frankfurt School, the arguments of American pragmatism developed in the Symbolic Interactionism of George Herbert Mead, a school of thought and an author at that time almost unknown among us. He has also cultivated the sociology of law and social deviance with his text Victimless Crimes. Social order and moral ambivalence, in which he opened the debate on crimes against morality from a radically liberal position.

It has been in the sociology of knowledge and science where the insight and analytical acuity of his work have achieved the highest contribution to the progress of sociological consciousness. This has happened, first of all, when identifying and pondering the theme of social reflexivity in his work The Reflexive Society, even before such distinguished foreign professors as Anthony Giddens or Ulrich Beck did so; secondly, by developing his idea of the knowledge society in the monograph Societies of culture and societies of science, Jovellanos International Essay Prize; and, finally, by drawing a historical and conceptual map of this discipline in the volume Sociology of knowledge and science, written in collaboration with professor José María González García and Cristóbal Torres Albero. This level of continued excellence in his production continues in the most general sociological theory, materialized in milestones such as the two editions of the Dictionary of Sociology, edited together with professors Salvador Giner and Cristóbal Torres, or in the leadership of the sociological theory group of the Spanish Federation of Sociology. Of this federation, which formalizes the scientific association of sociology in our country, he was its president between 2007 and 2010.

His dedication to the study of both the problems of Spain and Europe and the emergence of transnational society and its governance can also be highlighted, materialized - as author and editor - in books such as “Between two centuries. Reflections on Spanish democracy”, “Under doors of fire. The new international disorder” or the most recent “Europe after Europe”. One should not be surprised by this last orientation of his intellectual work since Professor Emilio Lamo de Espinosa has not only maintained an outstanding academic-scientific activity, but has also shown a solid and constant orientation towards politics and management in different positions. , institutions and companies. In this dedication, his role stands out in the elaboration and development of the University Reform Law of 1983, -which made possible the modernization of the Spanish university-; as well as his leadership in the launch and management of the Council of Universities, the Spanish Pavilion at EXPO 92, the Ortega y Gasset University Research Institute and, more recently, the Royal Elcano Institute of International and Strategic Studies, without a doubt the most prolific and well-known Spanish think tank.

To all of the above we must add his outstanding contribution to public debate with more than 300 columns written in the main Spanish newspapers. Nor is it surprising this intense activity of Professor Lamo de Espinosa towards the world of published opinion. Indeed, far from understanding that sociology is reduced to a good explanation aimed at the ivory tower in which we scientists too often live, it conceives it as a way of bringing its results closer to an educated public that is already very numerous. Adopting his approach, it can be argued that sociologists should not only write for our colleagues but also for audiences that are increasingly massive and more cultured, and that to some extent they are so because they know our findings and ideas. In good reflexivist logic, Professor Emilio Lamo de Espinosa would say that sociologists describe social reality but, above all, we are the instrument that reality uses to know itself.

These lines, which allow the joyful opportunity to gloss the work and academic and professional career of Professor Lamo de Espinosa, show that it is not necessary for the well-known Mateo Effect to operate for his name and his work to have already become stone. milestone of the path that scientists from the Spanish social science community take in our daily attempt to contribute to the progress of knowledge of social reality. For all this, and on behalf of all colleagues, disciples and friends, thank you very much dear Emilio.

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