About the Author

James R. Beniger (16th December 1947 – 12th April 2010) was a sociologist  and communication and sociology professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and Princeton University. Among Beniger’s greatest achievements was his highly acclaimed study of the economic and technological origins of the information society entitled The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society. The book received the Association of American Publishers Award for the Most Outstanding Book in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award. Beniger died at the age of 63 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

His Bachelor in history magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1969 was the beginning of Beniger’s academic career. At Harvard he was editor of the Harvard Crimson and also worked freelance as an art critic for the Boston Globe. He also worked as Staff Writer for the Wall Street Journal in Chicago where he landed a front-page byline story about President Lyndon Johnson during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He later obtained a MS in statistics and an MA in sociology from Berkeley University in California where he also did his PhD in Sociology in 1978.

Beniger used the time away from his studies to travel, which led him on a journey through some 40 countries on five continents. It was during that time that Beniger taught history, English and creative writing at the International College in Beirut, Lebanon. He also taught at a secondary school in Colombia. His first full time university position was in the department of sociology at Princeton where he was Assistant Professor for eight years, during which time he also was a visiting assistant professor at Yale. From 1985 onwards he held a position at USCs Annenberg School for Communication.

Throughout his career Beniger wrote two books in sole authorship. His first book, Trafficking in Drug Users: Professional Exchange Networks in the Control of Deviance, was published by the Cambridge Press in 1984. The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society followed in 1986. In 2007 the book also won the International Communication Association’s Fellows Book Award for “having stood the test of time.” Translations of the book are available in Chinese and Italian.