Castells was Professor of City and Regional Planning, and Professor of Sociology, at UC Berkeley from 1979 to 2003. He is currently the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication Technology and Society at the University of Southern California. He is also a Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and holds joint appointments in the Department of Sociology, in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development, and in the School of International Relations.
Castells was born in Spain. He studied law and economics at the University of Barcelona and Paris. In 1972 he published his first book, La Question Urbaine, that was translated into 10 languages and became a classic around the world. Before moving to the United States in 1979, he received his Ph.D in sociology and human sciences from the University of Paris-Sorbonne.
Castells is one of the most cited social science and communications scholars and the author of over 20 books. He received the 2013 Balzan Prize from the International Balzan Prize Foundation, and the 2012 Holberg International Memorial Prize from the parliament of Norway.