Nonino Prize "To a Master of our Time" 2016

Alain Touraine



In his thinking he has created one of the most used and abused terms of our times: “post-industrial
society”. His sociological analysis, clear and careful, ranges from politics to individual ethics and to social action, always maintaining its foundations on social dynamisms and their cohesion. The individual, deprived of an ancient sacred world, becomes a human subject that, able to transform himself, in his acting becomes the creator and the arbiter of his destiny.



Alain Touraine is one of the most important exponents of contemporary sociology.
Born on August 3rd 1925 in Hermanville-sur-Mer (Calvados), he had a historical formation, in the sense and the tradition of the social history that belongs to the Annales and that relates back to the teachings of L. Febvre and F. Braudel. He studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, becoming professor “agrégé” of History (1950).
He was Rockefeller Fellow in 1952 and 1953 at the University of Harvard, Columbia and Chicago, and until 1958 researcher at the CNRS (Conseil National de la Recherche Scientifique). He taught sociology in many countries of Latin America, in the United States, Canada and at the University of Paris-Nanterre (1966-1969).
Since 1970 he has been director of research at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, where he mainly focuses on industrial sociology and in particular on the levels of “consciousness” of the working class, as well as the dynamics and characteristics of “social movements” in accordance with the criteria and the methods shown in his Sociologie de l’action (in collaboration with L. Libertini and R. Padgett, Paris 1965). He is well known for creating the term “post-industrial society”.
In 1956 he founded the Research Center of Work Sociology at the University of Chile and, in 1958, the Laboratory of Industrial Sociology in Paris (since 1970 the Centre d’Etudes des Mouvements Sociaux).
Currently is a member of several research institutes and scientific academies and holds his blog (alaintouraine.
The latest book translated in Italy by Armando Editore is After the crisis. A new possible society.
In France he has just published Nous, Sujets Humains, Editions du Seuil.
He has received several awards and acknowledgements among which we quote the Prince of Asturias Award in 2010 and the Légion d’honneur in 2014.

Selected publications
L’évolution du travail aux usines Renault, Paris: CNRS, 1955
The Post-Industrial Society. Tomorrow’s Social History: Classes, Conflicts and Culture in the Programmed
Society. New York: Random House, 1971
The May Movement: Revolt and Reform. New York: Random House, 1971
Pour la sociologie. Éditions du Seuil, 1974
The Self-Production of Society. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1977
The Voice and the Eye: An Analysis of Social Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981
Solidarity: The Analysis of a Social Movement: Poland 1980-1981. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984
The Workers’ Movement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987
Return of the Actor: Social Theory in Postindustrial Society. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988
Critique of Modernity. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995
What is Democracy? Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1997
Can We Live Together?: Equality and Difference. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2000
Beyond Neoliberalism, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001
Le Monde des Femmes. Paris: Fayard, 2006
New Paradigm for Understanding Today’s World. Cambridge, Malden: Polity, 2007
Thinking Differently. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009
La Fin des sociétés. Éditions du Seuil, 2014
After the Crisis. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014