The 2000–09 research survey of the Social Sciences Citation Index ranks him as the world’s fifth most-cited social science scholar, and the foremost-cited communication scholar.
 LifeManuel Castells was raised primarily in Barcelona. Although from a conservative family, he was politically active in the student anti-Franco movement, an adolescent political activism that forced him to flee Spain for France. In Paris, at the age of twenty, he completed his degree studies, then progressed to the University of Paris, where he earned a doctorate in sociology. At the age of twenty-four, Dr Castells became an instructor at the University of Paris, from 1967 to 1979; first at the Paris X University Nanterre (where he taught Daniel Cohn-Bendit), who fired him because of the 1968 student protests, then at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, from 1970 to 1979.
Subsequently in 1979, in the US, the University of California, Berkeley appointed him to two professorships; Professor of Sociology, and Professor of City and Regional Planning. In 2001, he was a research professor at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), Barcelona. In 2003, he joined the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication, as a Professor of Communication and the first Wallis Annenberg-endowed Chair of Communication and Technology. Castells is a founding member of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, and a senior member of the diplomacy center's Faculty Advisory Council; and is a member of the Annenberg Research Network on International Communication. Castells divides his residence between Spain and the US; he is married to Emma Kiselyova. Since 2008 he has been a member of the governing board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
 TheoryThe sociological work of Manuel Castells Oliván synthesises empirical research literature with combinations of urban sociology, organization studies, internet studies, social movements, sociology of culture, and political economy. About the origins of the network society, he posits that changes to the network form of enterprise predate the electronic internet technologies (usually) associated with network organization forms (cf. Castells and Organization Theory). Moreover, he coined the (academic) term “The Fourth World”, denoting the sub-population(s) socially excluded from the global society; usual usage denotes the nomadic, pastoral, and hunter-gatherer ways of life beyond the contemporary industrial society norm.
"Manuel Castells believes the present Information Age has the potential to unleash the power of the mind, " : the effects of such phenomenon would be a dramatic yet positive increase in the productivity of individuals. By obtaining a greater level of productivity, Castells believes that this will lead to greater leisure: allowing individuals to achieve “greater spiritual depth and more environmental consciousness(ibid)”. The effects of this change in social order are extremely optimistic; by acting in such a productive way, the world would limit it’s resource consumptions. This approach brought on by Manuel Castells is ground breaking. The Information Age, the Age of Consumption, The Network Society are all perspectives attempting to describing modern life as known in the present and to depict furthermore the future of society itself. As Castells presents, modern society would be described as “replacing the antiquated metaphor of the machine with that of the network”
In the 1970s, following the path of Alain Touraine (his intellectual father), Castells was a key developer of the variety of Marxist urban sociology that emphasises the role of social movements in the conflictive transformation of the city, (cf. post-industrial society). He introduced the concept of "collective consumption" (public transport, public housing, etc) comprehending a wide range of social struggles — displaced from the economic stratum to the political stratum via state intervention. Transcending Marxist strictures in the early 1980s, he concentrated upon the role of new technologies in the restructuring of an economy. In 1989, he introduced the concept of the "space of flows", the material and immaterial components of global information networks used for the real-time, long-distance co-ordination of the economy. In the 1990s, he combined his two research strands in The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, published as a trilogy, The Rise of the Network Society (1996), The Power of Identity (1997), and End of Millennium (1998); two years later, its worldwide, favourable critical acceptance in university seminars, prompted publication of a second (2000) edition that is 40 per cent different from the first (1996) edition.
The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture comprehends three sociological dimensions — production, power, and experience — stressing that the organisation of the economy, of the state and its institutions, and the ways that people create meaning in their lives through collective action, are irreducible sources of social dynamics — that must be understood as both discrete and inter-related entities. Moreover, he became an established cybernetic culture theoretician with his Internet development analysis stressing the roles of the state (military and academic), social movements (computer hackers and social activists), and business, in shaping the economic infrastructure according to their (conflicting) interests. The Information Age trilogy is his précis: "Our societies are increasingly structured around the bipolar opposition of the Net and the Self"; the “Net” denotes the network organisations replacing vertically integrated hierarchies as the dominant form of social organization, the Self denotes the practices a person uses in reaffirming social identity and meaning in a continually changing cultural landscape.
 PublicationsManuel Castells Oliván is one of the world's most often-cited social science and communications scholars; he has written more than twenty books, including:
- The Urban Question. A Marxist Approach (Alan Sheridan, translator). London, Edward Arnold (1977) (Original publication in French, 1972)
- City, Class and Power. London; New York, MacMillan; St. Martins Press (1978)
- The Economic Crisis and American Society. Princeton, NJ, Princeton UP (1980)
- The City and the Grassroots: A Cross-cultural Theory of Urban Social Movements. Berkeley: University of California Press (1983)
- The Informational City: Information Technology, Economic Restructuring, and the Urban Regional Process. Oxford, UK; Cambridge, MA: Blackwell (1989)
- The Information Age trilogy:
- Castells, Manuel (1996, second edition, 2000). The Rise of the Network Society, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol. I. Cambridge, MA; Oxford, UK: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-22140-1.
- Castells, Manuel (1997, second edition, 2004). The Power of Identity, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol. II. Cambridge, MA; Oxford, UK: Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-0713-6.
- Castells, Manuel (1998, second edition, 2000). End of Millennium, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol. III. Cambridge, MA; Oxford, UK: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-22139-5.
- The Internet Galaxy, Reflections on the Internet, Business and Society. Oxford, Oxford University Press (2001)
- The Information Society and the Welfare State: The Finnish Model. Oxford UP, Oxford (2002) (co-author, Pekka Himanen )
- The Network Society: A Cross-Cultural Perspective. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, Edward Elgar (2004), (editor and co-author), ISBN 978-1-84542-435-0.
- The Network Society: From Knowledge to Policy. Washington, DC, Center for Transatlantic Relations (2006) (co-editor)
- Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press (2006) (co-author)
- Epilogue of Pekka Himanen's The Hacker Ethic.
- Castells, Manuel (2009). Communication power. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 608. ISBN 978-0-19-956704-1.
- Arsenault, A & Castells, M. (2008) Switching power: Rupert Murdoch and the global business of media politics: A sociological analysis. International Sociology 23(4): 488.
- Arsenault, A, and Castells, M. 2008. The structure and dynamics of global multimedia business networks. International Journal of Communication 2707-48.
- Castells, M (2007) Communication, power and counter-power in the network society. International Journal of Communication 1(1): 238-66.
- Social Uses of Wireless Communications: The Mobile Information Society, co-author of the paper for the International Workshop on Wireless Communication Policies and Prospects: A Global Perspective, USC, 8–9 October 2004.
- Susser, Ida. The Castells Reader on Cities and Social Theory. Oxford, Blackwell (2002)
- Castells, Manuel; Ince, Martin. Conversations with Manuel Castells. Oxford, Polity Press (2003)
- Stalder, Felix. Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society. Oxford, Polity Press (2006)
- Relative Ranking of a Selected Pool of Leading Scholars in the Social Sciences by Number of Citations in the Social Science Citation Index, 2000-2009. PDF.
- "Endowed Faculty Chairs". USC Annenberg. http://annenberg.usc.edu/Faculty/Endowed.aspx.
- Strangelove, Michael (2005). The Empire of Mind: Digital Piracy and the anti-capitalist movement. Toronto, On, Canada: University of Toronto Press Incorporated. pp. 8.
- Castells and Ince 2003, p. 11-12
- Castells and Ince 2003, p. 12
- Castells and Ince 2003, p. 20
- Castells, The Rise of the Network Society (1996) p. 3
- Citations in the Social Science Citation Index, 2000-2007
- Citations in the Social Science Citation Index, 2000-2007 (living scholars only)
 External resources
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Manuel Castells|
- Webpage of Castells at USC Annenberg
- Webpage of Castells at UC Berkeley (Professor Emeritus listing)
- Website devoted to his work, made by Open University of Catalonia
- A scholarly review of the Information Age trilogy
- Video stream of an hour long interview with Castells, conducted in 2001
- International Journal of Communication Academic journal co-edited by Castells, established in 2007
- Manuel Castells' World of Communication, a Manuel Castells exclusive monthly article in Media Coolhunting.
- Audio: Manuel Castells in conversation on the BBC World Service discussion programme The Forum
- Video Stream: Manuel Castells October 2009 keynote at University of Oxford Internet Institute for the release of his new book, "Communication Power"
- Video Stream: Manuel Castells March 2010 at USC Annenberg, International Seminar on Network Theory