Juan Diez Nicolás


  • Juan Díez Nicolás was born in Madrid. Between 1948 and 1955 he studied high school at the “Ramiro de Maeztu” National Institute of Secondary Education in Madrid, where he became an English teacher between 1956 and 1961.
  • Before completing his degree, he obtained qualifications such as American Field Service Scholarship in Oswego (Oregon) 1955-56; the LOHS High School title in 1956; and the “Degré Superior” Diploma in French Language and Civilization from the Universities of Toulouse and Bordeaux in 1958.
  • He later graduated in Political Science from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1960, obtaining the National End of Degree Award that same year and the Extraordinary Bachelor's Award in 1961. Likewise in 1961 he obtained the Diploma from the School of Industrial Organization of Madrid (specialty Companies).
  • In 1962 he obtained the MA in Sociology from the University of Michigan, and the status of Fulbright Scholar from said university for the three-year period 1961-63.
  • In 1967, he obtained the title of Doctor in Political Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid.
  • Between 1963 and 1969, he held the positions of Co-Founder, Technical Director and General Secretary of the National Institute of Public Opinion dependent on the Ministry of Information and Tourism.
  • Between 1970 and 1971 he worked as an Advisor in the General Directorate of Urban Planning and as Founder and Secretary of the Interministerial Committee for the Conditioning of the Environment, dependent on the Ministry of Housing. Likewise, in 1970 he was appointed Secretary of Social Sciences of the Juan March Foundation, a position he would hold until 1979.
  • Between 1971 and 1973 he developed extensive academic activity and was successively appointed Full Professor of Sociology by the University of Granada and the University of Málaga; Professor hired at the Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences of the Autonomous University of Madrid and Professor hired at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology of the Complutense University of Madrid.
  • In that same period he was appointed Vice-Rector of the University of Málaga, previously holding the position of Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences of the University of Málaga.
  • Between 1973 and 1974 he held the position of General Director of Social Planning and Secretary of the Interministerial Commission on the Environment (CIMA), dependent on the Ministry of Planning.
  • In 1974 he developed his activity as Founder and General Director of the National Institute of Educational Sciences (INCIE), dependent on the Ministry of Education and Science, until 1976. He was also appointed National Councilor for Education, Attorney for the Spanish Cortes and Rector of the University. National Distance Education (UNED).
  • In 1975, he obtained the status of Full Professor of Sociology and founder of the Department of Human Ecology and Population at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology of the Complutense University of Madrid.
  • Between 1976 and 1979 he held important positions in the Public Administration such as General Director of the Institute of Public Opinion and Founder and General Director of the Center for Sociological Research, dependent on the Ministry of the Presidency. Between 1979 and 1981 he held the position of Undersecretary of Territorial Planning and Environment as well as President of the CIMA in the Ministry of Public Works and Urban Planning.
  • After being appointed National Secretary of Information and member of the Political Council of the Democratic Center Union, in 1982 he was appointed Coordinator of Advisors for the First Vice President for Political Affairs of the Government of Spain and later, in that same year, Vice President and member of the Bureau of the European Population Committee of the Council of Europe until 1985, the year in which he held the Presidency of said body until 1987. Likewise, from 1982 to 1991, he held the Presidency of the Public Administration Statistics Commission, and until 1992 the Presidency of the seminar on “Society and Armed Forces” at the CESEDEN Institute of Strategic Studies dependent on the Ministry of Defense.
  • Between 1990 and 1996 he held the position of Founder-Director of the Center for Research on Social Reality (CIRES). Likewise, in 1995, he became part of the group of experts that wrote the proposal on the “Feasibility of a European Social Survey.
  • Between 1992 and 1996 he held the position of Vice President of the Economic and Social Council in the Community of Madrid and in 1995 he was appointed President of the Spanish Federation of Sociology until 1978.
  • Other important positions held have been: Member of the Board of Directors of the Roper Center of the University of Connecticut (1997-2000); President of the Forum for the Social Integration of Immigrants of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (1999-2001); Vice President of Membership and Finance of the International Sociological Association (1998-2002); Member of the Committee of Sages for Dialogue between the Peoples and Cultures of the Mediterranean (2002-2004); Member of the Commission of Experts for the Study of “Dependency in Spain” (2003-2004); and Member of the Group of Experts on Cultural Diversity and Development UNDP/Spain Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund of the United Nations, since 2007.
  • Since 1961 he has published 32 books and more than 250 book chapters and articles in professional journals. Among the most recent are: “Multidimensional Social Science” (with several authors) (2009), “Subjective Security in Spain” (2011), “Return to materialist values? The dilemma between security and freedom in developed countries (2011)” and “Spanish Society in the Face of the Crisis” (2012).
  • He has obtained numerous national and foreign research grants, the most recent being obtained from the European Commission, Program FP-7: “Political and Social Transformations in the Arab World”, for the triennium 2013-2015. It has also received support from the Ministry of Science and Innovation, the SIDA Foundation, the Telefónica Foundation in Morocco, the FOESSA Foundation, the Juan March Foundation, the Ford Foundation and The Population Council of America.
  • Throughout his career he has been awarded numerous decorations and honors, including the Commendation of Civil Merit (1964), the Diego Saavedra Fajardo CSIC Research Award (1970); the Grand Cross of Military Merit with White Badge (1971); the Gold Medal from the National University of Distance Education (1992); the Cross of Naval Merit (1994); the Hidalgo Award for Gypsy Presence (1998); the Medal of Constitutional Merit (2011); the Honoris Causa Doctorate in Political Science and Sociology from UNED (2012); the status of Honorary Rector of UNED (2012); and the National Prize for Sociology and Political Science from the Center for Sociological Research (2012).
  • Other current activities are those of President-Founder of Economic and Political Sociological Analysis SA (ASEP) and of the Foundation for the Analysis and Dissemination of Social Research Data (FADDIS), Academic of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Permanent Advisor in the Executive Committee of the World Values Survey and Professor in the courses organized by CESEDEN and ESFAS. He is also a member of the Free College of Emeritus as well as various organizations and editorial boards.
  • He also acts as a member of several international research groups such as the World Values Survey, the International Social Survey Programme, the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, and the Executive Committee of the European Center for Survey Research at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland).
National Prize for Sociology and Political Science 2012

Professor Juan Díez Nicolás, with perseverance and continuity of more than five decades, with coherence and admirable exemplarity, has demonstrated that the meaning of his life has been the social sciences. Certainly his biography shows us other important facets. But all of them revolve around his fundamental and first-time vocation: that of a student of man and society, that of a social scientist. And it is from this self-conception of a sociologist that he will play other roles, academic, political or business. Because Professor Díez Nicolás has been general director, undersecretary, university rector, businessman, and all of this with the brilliance, rigor and integrity that you all know; but without ever ceasing to be a scholar, a researcher, an analyst. His methodological training has always been present in the way of posing and facing problems, such as his particular "phonendoscope" to listen to the Spanish social and political reality, constantly formulating hypotheses to explain it.

But orchestrating in practice the complex organization that carries out research is not an easy task. And even less so if we go back to the early 60s of the previous century when Professor Díez Nicolás, upon his return from the University of Michigan, designed and launched (together with Professors Salustiano del Campo and Luis González Seara) the Institute of Public Opinion, institutional background of the current Center for Sociological Research. There you could already see, in addition to his scientific-technical preparation, his organizational creativity and research teams, his capacity for generous listening and support for the people he directed. I remember those founding times of Spanish sociological research as one of great intellectual effervescence and interdisciplinary richness. The broader political context could be authoritarian; but the intellectual climate of the Institute of Public Opinion was one of complete freedom. To a large extent this was possible thanks to that open, interpersonally welcoming disposition, which, like a good cosmopolitan, Professor Díez Nicolás already showed. Epistemological, methodological and ideological pluralism was an immediate experience in the day-to-day discussions of the research.

That same pattern of institutional creativity will become a distinctive feature of his political career. Thus, when he was appointed General Director of Social Planning, in the Ministry of Planning and Development, he designed said general direction as if it were a Faculty or Institute of Social Sciences, asking for collaboration from people of very different ideological orientation, but vocationally committed to the sciences. social.

And when in 1973 he founded and launched the National Institute of Educational Sciences, he began a series of pioneering research in the sociology of education, in which young researchers participated who would later become top specialists in this field.

Professor Díez Nicolás observes a similar mode of action when he serves as Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Environment, where, putting his training in Human Ecology into play, he will introduce innovative measures for its protection.

The constant underlying this institutional creativity is, and the conviction that social science and its discourse introduce, a principle of rationality in the direction of human affairs, including those in which acute conflicts of power and conceptions of the world occur. . Professor Díez Nicolás has experienced politics from sociological knowledge, being aware that this knowledge has an origin in the interests and values of the society that fosters it and a critical and constructive destiny of that same society. And if the idea of a "pure" social science is already an extemporaneous idea, its practical dimension should be expressly assumed. This is not only an epistemological question; It affects the very sense of professional identity of social scientists. At this point, once again, the career of Professor Díez Nicolás reveals to us in advance key aspects of the relationships of the social scientist with his own society and his role in it.

A unique project, expressive of the generosity of Professor Díez Nicolás, is having promoted and assumed the direction of 60 studies of national scope, whose data files, ready for analysis, he makes freely available to his colleagues to serve as a basis. empirical evidence of their research. No less than 60 surveys with different monographic topics, from national identity to moral development, youth, etc. A large number of publications refer to the use of these data, which reveals the impact that this project has had on the development of empirical-quantitative research in Spain, and also abroad.

But this is a small part, limited to a few years, of the hundreds of studies that Professor Díez Nicolás has directed and carried out throughout his professional career. In reality, he has never stopped being in charge of a Sociological Research Institute, public or private. in a permanent process of auscultation and analysis of the Spanish social reality. All this mass of information, systematically programmed and structured, has allowed him to develop not only a broad and at the same time precise knowledge of Spanish society, but also that depth and clarity of vision of what needs to be done that we call wisdom, "phronesis." Aristotelian (prudence). Which is not the nomological-deductivist explanation, but the founded and concrete analysis of concrete reality.

I know the intellectual career and university commitment of our professor since the early sixties, and I can attest that his vocation is the University, making a country by doing a University.

We are faced with an all-terrain sociologist, who moves safely and effectively through different subfields of Sociology, from demography and human ecology, through political sociology, cultural sociology or social psychology.

His extensive and extensive written work, in national and international publications, shows us this variety of topics, almost always focused on the empirical basis of his research. In recent decades, the issue to which he has devoted himself most intensely has been the study of values, playing a central role, together with Professor Ronald Inglehardt, in one of the lines of comparative research with the greatest international prestige and impact," The world study of values.

With his history of persevering, innovative work, open to cooperating and sharing, Professor Díez Nicolás has been laying the necessary foundations for the development of Spanish sociology and thus placing it at the level of his time.