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Professor honoured for political anthropology

Professor honoured for political anthropology

University of Auckland Professor of Social Anthropology, Cris Shore, has been honoured by Royal Society Te Apārangi for his contributions to political anthropology and the study of organisations, governance and power.

At a gala dinner in Auckland las night, Professor Shore (FRSNZ) was awarded the Mason Durie Medal for his influential research relating to anthropology, policy and European politics.

“I am a passionate believer in the value of anthropology and the social sciences for understanding the major social problems and political challenges that our world is facing today,” he said on receiving the award.

Professor Shore has applied social anthropology methodologies to study organisations and policy as a way of understanding modern society and culture. He first developed his historical-anthropological methods in an ethnographic study of the Italian Communist party and Eurocommunism.

He then used them to gain an understanding of the formation of the European Union by studying the European Commission’s civil servants in Brussels. His book Building Europe: The Cultural Politics of European Integration was prescient of the Eurozone crisis and Brexit, and the EU has appointed him as an expert adviser five times.

In recent years, Professor Shore has theorised about the rise of “audit culture”, studying the growing trend of using accountancy principles and techniques as instruments of management and how metric-based performance measurements are reshaping organisations and the subjectivities of those who work in them, including universities and health services.

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He is also leading a multidisciplinary Marsden-funded project called “Crown and Constitutional Reform in New Zealand” which explores how power and symbolism operate in the Westminster model of constitutional monarchy

Professor Shore is Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Auckland. In 2016 he was elected Co-President of the Association for the Anthropology of Policy, a section of the American Anthropological Association. In 2016 he was visiting professor at University College London and Visiting Professor at Sussex University and holds many editorial roles. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi in 2016 and has been appointed to a guest professorship in Public Management at Stockholm University for 2018.

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