Enemy of television gets top Asturias award

9th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 June 2005, OVIEDO — Italian political scientist Giovanni Sartori was awarded the Asturias Prize for social sciences for his influential writings on the essence of democracy.

9 June 2005

OVIEDO —  Italian political scientist Giovanni Sartori was awarded the Asturias Prize for social sciences for his influential writings on the essence of democracy.

Sartori has warned of the dangers posed by modern citizens' affinity for television in his writings.

In announcing the award in this northern Spanish city, the jury emphasised the scholar's "commitment to the rights and freedoms of open society".

Sartori, professor emeritus at the United States' Columbia University and Italy's University of Florence, is the author of several books on political theory and a columnist with Il Corriere della Sera.

In explaining its choice, the jury underscored that Sartori, born in Florence in 1924, "has keenly reflected on and alerted to the social and institutional problems of our time and to the necessary balance among different powers in democratic societies".

Present-day democracy's worst enemy is itself, and it is capable of destroying itself if it fails to act more intelligently, Sartori said in 2003, when introducing his book 'What is Democracy?'.

Sartori travels around the world lecturing on various subjects, such as the dangers of television, advising parents against using it as an electronic baby sitter.

In his book "Homo Videns: Remote-Controlled Society," Sartori warns that exposure to television during the formative years "atrophies the capacity for abstract thinking."

For Sartori, 'homo videns' he who watches television, loses the ability to understand reality, because he sees reality transformed or, rather, deformed by the small screen.

Each of the eight Prince of Asturias prize is accompanied by a cash award of EUR 50,000, a sculpture by Spanish artist Joan Miro, a diploma and a badge.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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