It is with a heavy heart that we mark the passing of Professor Luis Moreno. Luis had been an Associated Fellow of the Centre on Constitutional Change since its foundation in 2013, and a much longer friend of the University of Edinburgh. He completed his PhD in Politics in 1986, under the supervision of Henry Drucker, in what was then the Unit for the Study of Government in Scotland. His thesis, Decentralisation in Britain and Spain: the cases of Scotland and Catalonia, popularized what came to be known as the Moreno question, used in surveys to identify the relative importance of people’s sense of dual national identity (e.g. Scottish more than British, British more than Scottish, etc).
In the decades that followed, he built a distinguished and world-renowned career as a political sociologist, latterly at the IPP Institute of Public Goods and Policies at the Spanish National Research Council. He published over 30 scholarly books and around 350 articles, focused mainly on the welfare state, federalism, national identities, citizenship and social policy. His most recent books, Robotized Democracies. Future scenarios in the United States and the European Union (2018) and From the outside in: Reflections of change in times of pandemic (2021), deal with the effects of digitization and automation in our societies and social welfare. Characteristically, they were intended to explain and explore societal change, while provoking discussions of its consequences and possibilities. His immense contribution to knowledge was recognised by the Spanish Government in 2022, when he was awarded the prestigious Spanish National Prize for Research (Law, Economic and Social Sciences).
Luis was more than just an academic. He was a public intellectual who made influential contributions to public debates in Spain. A former journalist, he had that rare ability to make cogent interventions accessible to the general public. As a young man at the time of Spain’s transition to democracy, he was a local councillor and mayor for the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and remained a voice for social democracy and welfare in Spain and beyond throughout his life.
Beyond his individual contributions, Luis contributed to the career development of many others, including several of the team at the Centre on Constitutional Change and the Edinburgh School of Social and Political Science, where he was Honorary Professor. A proactively kind and generous person who made life better for those in his orbit, Luis was always generous with his time, and always unwavering in his support of early career researchers.
Thank you, Luis, for all that you gave. May you rest in peace.
Our thoughts are with Luis’s family, friends and colleagues.