Professor Charles Crothers

profile image

Professor of Sociology

Phone: 64 9 921 9999 ext 8468


Physical Address:

Room 1424, Level 14, AUT Tower, corner of Wakefield and Rutland streets, Auckland Central.


  • BA Waikato, BA (Hons)
  • PhD Victoria.

Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Co-Editor, New Zealand Sociology (with Robert Webb)
  • International Editorial Council, UNESCOs Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems
  • Advisory Editorial Board: The American Sociologist
  • Member Research Committee on the History of Sociology, International Sociological Association (2002-2006) and currently Vice-President.


Charles Crothers is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social Sciences at AUT, after previously serving as a Professor of Sociology at the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa. Prior to this position Charles had lectured in the Departments of Sociology at the University of Auckland, and Victoria University and had been President of the New Zealand Sociological Association. He was awarded the SAANZ 'Scholarship Prize' Prize in 2008.

Research Areas:

My research and teaching interests span 5 broad areas:
  1. Sociological/Social Theory: I have been concerned to examine the analytical theories in the work of Robert K Merton, and to develop a robust conceptualisation of social structure.
  2. Social Research Methodology/methods
  3. Sociology of  Science and Social Science:  I have studied the Columbia Tradition of Sociology (presided over by Robert K Merton and Paul Lazarsfeld), national sociologies (especially New Zealand and South Africa), and most broadly (in association with Prof. Jennifer Platt at Sussex University) comparative patterns in world sociology and organisation of social research.
  4. Studies of New Zealand and Auckland: I am concerned to understand the linkages holding social structures together over time, which has involved studying topics such as Voluntary organisations (NGOs), social class/ inequality/ poverty/social exclusion, neo-liberalism and its effects,  economic power structures, occupations, organisations, communities,  households, networks, life events, ideologies,  voting, quality of life and the ideologies and knowledges held within societies about  themselves.
  5. Social Criticism, Social Policy and Social Justice, and in particular the potential of Third way approaches.

Current Research Projects:

  • Using the Internet in New Zealand elections and support for e-votingPolitical Science 2015 volume 67(2) 
  • 2014 New Zealand Election Results
  • Intellectual Biography of Robert K Merton (updating/extending previous book)  (for Ashgate)
  • Theoretical Studies of Social Structure as a Sociological concept.
  • The Globalisation of Sociology – particularly with reference to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa (with Prof. Jennifer Platt, University of Sussex)
  • MacroAuckland: a report on social conditions and an interactive atlas and in Auckland sponsored by Auckland Communities Foundation (launched in March 2011).
  • Empirical Studies of Social Structure in New Zealand (especially social class, generations and age-groups, digital differentiation, etc.)