Premio Nacional de Sociología y Ciencia Política 2010

Biographical sketch of Mr Carlos Moya Valgañón
by by Ramón Ramos Torre

Carlos Moya Valgañón

The intellectual figure of Carlos Moya exceeds all possible academic classification, and it is impossible to pigeonhole him within the limitations of any discipline. A man of insatiable intellectual curiosity and encyclopaedic knowledge, his sociological works have tended to be found at the crossroads between the best modern traditions in social science and humanities. His sociology has always been open to interdisciplinary dialogue and to the questioning of sterile academic limits. His work has, therefore, focused on incorporating new perspectives from philosophy, history, psychology, anthropology, political science and even the furthest removed intellectual lines of hard science. A product of the unorthodox and hybrid cradle of his thinking and of his brilliant originality, his work on the themes of empiricism and theoretical analysis never fail to surprise with the originality of the perspective from which he observes and analyses, with his ability to recognise hardly contemplated emerging realities in the smallest folds of experience, and his refusal to enter already exhausted and sterile fields.

His area of interest and attention has always been the great tradition of social thought, a tradition that he analysed starting with Hobbes, the first and foremost socio-political thinker in the modern age, whose approach was reformed by Saint-Simon and his disciple Comte in the first third of the 19th Century, to then be fully institutionalised in Germany and France in the epoch of Max Weber and Emile Durkheim. It then went on to erupt in the American universities of the post World War II period, dominated by the struggle between the structural functionalism of Parsons and the engagé and alternative sociology of Charles Wright Mills. It is this backdrop, unfolding over the course of several centuries of modernity, that has constituted the main focus of his reflections, research and writings. Moya has brilliantly demonstrated how this has unfolded and gained complexity, forming a part of the backbone of modern thinking, how it views us and what we can do to renew the messages that it has provided us with over the years. His studies on Hobbes, Saint-Simon, Durkheim and Weber demonstrate their strategic role in the history of the modern age and its obstinate current situation, as thinkers who still help us in the way we think about the world that we live in. These works are fully recognised as reference studies by our academic community.

Carlos Moya has not limited himself to excelling in the area of theoretical reflection, however. He has always stood out as an intelligent and keen observer of current affairs. His analysis of the drift of contemporary global society is full of original proposals in dialogue with the most common analyses of contemporary sociology. On the other hand, and following the characteristic lines of classical sociology, his work on the social world has gone further than the purely current and contemporary, opening up into historical research of great ambition, in which sociology and history come together as inseparable disciplines.

A sociable person, open to everybody and always willing to encourage the research of the many people who, with very varied educational levels and intellectual interests, have approached him over the decades, Carlos Moya is recognised by everyone as an intellectual committed to the age he lives in, a wise man and a master, who is valued by the academic community for his crucial role in institutionalising sociology in Spain, and especially for his innovative and original contributions to the field of sociological theory and socio-political philosophy.