Politics and society research
Human geography research at Massey develops a multi-faceted understanding of the local, regional and global processes that shape the changing relationships between people and the places they live.
International politics is a wide-ranging research area that encompasses diverse projects such as those on the politics of the Palestinian Authority in the Middle East, the changing relationship between states and security provision, and the contemporary diplomacy of North Korea.
New Zealand politics
Our research interests in the Politics of Aotearoa/New Zealand include social and labour movements, the effects of neoliberalism on public policy and social well-being, local-authority governance, analysis of voters’ opinions and choices, and the conduct of the executive. Our findings are shared publicly, to support democratic engagement between citizens and decision-makers.
Massey University anthropologists conduct research on a wide variety of topics including political violence, ritual and belief, medical systems, ethnicity, agriculture, food, and indigenous peoples and issues.
Sociological research challenges commonsense assumptions, analyses deeply seated problems, and develops the imagination to contribute to a hopeful future. It engages with all aspects of the social world including culture, ethnicity, class, inequality, gender, environment, politics, work, social justice, everyday life and individual group relationships.
Find programmes with a research element, including the PhD.
- Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (Geography)
- Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (Politics and International Relations)
- Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (Social Anthropology)
- Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (Social Policy)
- Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (Sociology)
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- Doctor of Social Work
- Master of Arts (Geography)
- Master of Arts (Politics and International Relations)
- Master of Arts (Social Anthropology)
- Master of Arts (Social Policy)
- Master of Arts (Sociology)
- Master of Social Work
Search for an expert
Search our staff database for an expert or area of expertise.
Capturing the Diversity Dividend of Aotearoa New Zealand
Today's Aotearoa New Zealand is a superdiverse society. The CaDDANZ programme is helping to identify how New Zealand can better prepare for and respond to demographic changes, and maximise the benefits associated with an increasingly diverse population.
Customary governance and Indigenous authorities in subnational island jurisdictions
This research examines the relations between mainland state governments, island authorities and Indigenous customary authorities in the Francophone Pacific. Particular focus is given to the negotiation of sovereignty by customary Indigenous authorities and the influence of island spatialities on governance at multiple scales.
Embodying the Law: Manhood and authority in the making of English legal culture c.1300-1600
Historically the law was made by men, but what did this mean for the evolution of legal thinking and practice? This project uses texts, space and visual culture to explore the ways lawyers’ masculinity interacted with social status and a sense of national identity to shape English common law culture during this formative period.
Geographic information systems and unpersoned aerial vehicles camp
This project aims to foster an education and community outreach initiative that expands high school students’ complementary competencies in science, technology and critical thinking through a multi-day geographic information systems (GIS) and unpersoned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) camp.
Indigeneity, cultural landscapes and urban informal settlements in small island states
This project examines the connections between island spatiality, informal settlement development in island cities, and urban indigeneity in the Francophone Pacific. Particular focus is given to customary systems of ownership in informal settlements, the re-creation of community and identity and participatory processes for collaborative planning and co-design.
Infrastructures of housing and food for low-wage migrant workers in Singapore
Researchers from the Centre for Culture-Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) have uncovered Singapore’s large migrant community is experiencing clusters of COVID-19, due to cramped migrant worker dormitories.
*image copyright CARE
This research critiques the ceding of financial markets to economists and looks at ways to “re-people” financial markets so they’re social activities and not just about an abstract supply and demand. This project will look at “stories” of markets in relation to agrifood.
Neoliberal restructuring: a response to labour unrest?
This project questions state-centric and idealistic accounts of the origins of neoliberalism in Aotearoa. It explores how restructuring of the economy in Aotearoa began in the mid to late 1970s, and whether this was a response to a major strike wave or to global economic crises and competitive pressures. Image Tom Scott, 4 for 5: The Workers’ Response to Mechanization and Automation in the Freezing Industry
Nga tangata oho mairangi
A study investigating how communities negotiate the social changes and tensions that arise when migrants move to an area, and how to create social cohesion between New Zealand-born citizens and migrants.
Political partisanship and corporate performance
Professor Sasha Molchanov is investigating the specific ways that political party orientation may impact on corporate performance. His research has found that despite a common perception that ‘left’ parties are less business-friendly than right parties, there is little evidence to suggest that companies actually perform worse when left parties are in power.
Role of rights-based geographic information science in heritage mapping at Tongariro National Park
This research traces cartographic assemblages to gain insight into connections between Indigenous peoples and rights-based approaches to UNESCO World Heritage mapping processes. A combination of archival research, critical mapping and GIS approaches are used to investigate 1) how Indigenous/human rights policies can transform cartographic processes and 2) what implications cartographic process may have on the perpetuation of rights-based heritage.
Social impact of COVID-19 in New Zealand
Dr Liangni Sally Liu is undertaking a two-year study to investigate social responses to COVID-19 in New Zealand. Her team will focus on how individuals and institutions have perceived and responded to the pandemic threat, and to issues of stigma and discrimination of specific ethnic groups.
The Citizen - Past and Present
The Citizen - Past and Present by Dr Andrew Brown and Dr John Griffiths is a bold and timely book from Massey University Press that brings political theorists and historians together to examine the role of, and need for, a critical, global and active civil society.
The Spatial Awareness Project
Rapid urbanisation, intensifying natural hazards, glacial retreat, exponential tourism growth, and expanding dairy farms are having an unassailable effect on Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural and cultural landscapes. The Spatial Awareness Project aims to encourage students’ curiosity about the human impact on the environment and create a learning community where students are empowered to critically engage in debates about conservation and land use.
The business of care: constructing a childcare market in Aotearoa/New Zealand
This project is funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund and considers the creation of the childcare market in New Zealand since 2000, also known as the ‘after-neoliberal’ period.
Think Differently Wellington
This initiative brings Massey staff together with councils, embassies, creative industries, Government and iwi to deliver dynamic projects responsive to the needs of the local community.
Typical New Zealanders
Dr Jeff McNeill’s research looks at the NZ Division’s participation in the WW1 Battle of Messines, and considers whether these Kiwi soldiers were “typical New Zealanders”. His work draws on documents from both sides of the conflict, and uses GIS to examine the battlefield terrain for clues to the events of the battle.
Political Ecology Research Centre
The Political Ecology Research Centre (PERC) is dedicated to connecting groups and individuals whose work emphasises and critiques the relationships between society, environment and politics. PERC members study, teach, research and/or practise political ecology.Contact PERC
Hanny Savitri Hartono
Hanny Savitri Hartono's ethnographic study seeks to document, understand and analyse the ideas and practices of urban middle-class Javanese Muslim women who are juggling and negotiating their lives as mothers where media are part of their own and their children's everyday lives.
By exploring concepts of identity and subjectivity this research seeks to understand the relationships between young Bhutanese women and the complicated world they are a part of.
An exploration of the role of law and public policy in post-colonial multicultural New Zealand and the resulting impact on the level of equality experienced by members of ethnic minorities, including their access to related freedoms.
Katina Beauchamp's study considers questions regarding the relationship between early childhood teachers’ knowledge of second language acquisition and the type of support they report implementing.
This study aims to elicit the main motivations of Iranian women who have come to NZ, and to assess the relative importance of factors such as desire for socio-political freedom, gender equality, or educational and financial opportunities.
Stella Pennell's qualitative research took place in Mercury Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula, with pre-retirees who in-migrated from city locations and who sought volunteer roles in local community organisations.
Stella Pennell's research illuminates forms of social reproduction emerging for Airbnb hosts at community, family and personal levels.
Thomas Robertson's thesis uses an anthropological and posthuman approach to understand the problem of mercury use for gold extraction by artisanal and small scale gold miners in Antioquia, Colombia.
Virginia Winters' research explores the motivations, expectations and aspirations of community gardeners and considers how these are affected by gardeners’ experiences of participation in community gardens.