Professor Cris Shore

BA(Hons) Anthropology/Geography. DPhil, Social Anthropology (Sussex)


Cris Shore is professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Auckland. After completing a PhD at Sussex University in 1986, he taught at Perugia University in Italy (1986) before taking up a research internship in the European Parliament in Brussels. Between 1987-1990, he lectured at Oxford Brookes University before taking a permanent post at Goldsmiths University in London where he held various positions (Senior Lecturer, Reader, Professor) until 2003 when he was appointed to the Chair in Social Anthropology at the University of Auckland. In 2006 he became founding Director of the Europe Institute, which he continued to co-direct until 2008. He has held numerous Visiting Fellowships and Professorships, including at Bristol, Sussex, Aarhus, and Harvard University, UMASS, Malta, University College London and the European University Institute in London.

Research | Current

  • Political anthropology, including political economy, governance, bureaucracies, complex organisations and elites
  • Anthropologicall approaches to the study of policy.
  •  ‘Audit culture’: how metricised measurements, performance indicators and rankings are used to shape conduct and transform society.  I investigate these topics through the methodologies of social anthropology and ethnographic techniques. 
  • Europe and the European Union in an age of austerity.
  • Higher education reform and the study of universities in the global knowledge economy.
  • The Crown and Constitutional Reform in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK

Current Research Projects

1. Universities in the Knowledge Economy:  Since 2010 I have worked closely with researchers in the UK and Denmark in a series of national and EU-funded multi-disciplinary projects that have investigated how universities engage with, and are being transformed by, processes of globalisation, neoliberalisation and New Public Management

2. Anthropology of Policy: This is a long-term project that seeks to establish a new sub-field of anthropology. Building on my previous ethnographic studies of political organisations, elites, policies and power, this research takes a closer look at ‘policy' as an object for anthropological investigation.

3. The Crown and Constitutional Reform in New Zealand and the Commonwealth: Anthropological and Legal Perspectives on a Shapeshifting Symbol. This 3-year Marsden Fund study (2014 - 2017) brings together researchers from Anthropology and Law to analyse the nature of the Crown as a political, legal and symbolic entity and the implications of constitutional reform for the state in New Zealand and other commonwealth countries.

4. Audit Culture and the New World Order I am currently completing a book for Pluto Press (with Susan Wright) on the rise of audit culture, the politics of indicators and financial accounting on contemporary culture and society.

5. The Eurozone and Austerity This research, funded by the European Union, is part of a wider EU Centres Network project that examines the effects of economic and monetary union in Europe and the implications of living under conditions of austerity.

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD students

Olivia Barnet Nagshine. 2013 “Mamas” in the Market: ‘the dividual’ in urban Highland Papua New Guinea’ (with Mark Busse)

Joshua Firth. 2017-  Tensions in software development: unravelling the contested meanings of knowledge’ (with Brigid Carroll (1st Supervisor) - MIB)


Past graduate students (recent) – PhDs

Katherine Longmuir 2014 (with Julie Park and Ruth Fitzgerald), The Value of Life: An Ethnography of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in Aotearoa New Zealand

Emma Sinclair, ‘From Kanak Oral Tradition to Kanak Literature (with Raylene Ramsey, awarded 2013).

Kathryn Scott 'Participatory democracy and urban sustainability' (with Julie Park, awarded 2013).

Muhammad Aman Ullah (PhD advisor, awarded 2012).

Michelle MacCarthy (2007-12) 'Cultural Tourism in the Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea.' (with Mark Busse)

Sasha Maher.  ‘Leading From Behind. An Ethnographic Study of Business Diplomacy in the Making of Free Trade Agreements in New Zealand’ (with Brad Jackson, awarded 2012).

Marama Muru-Lanning (2004-2010) 'Tupuna Awa and Te Awa Tupuna: An Anthropological Study of Competing Discourses and Claims of Ownership to the Waikato River'

Relinde Tap.‘Parenting and Childhood in New Zealand’ (with Julie Park, awarded 2007).


Current MA & BA(Hons) students

2017           Andrea Ortiz. Settlement of Latin American refugees in New Zealand.

2017           Angel Bennett. Presentations of Self in Social Media.

2017           Geoffrey Dawson. Genealogies and Uses of Mindfulness in New Zealand.


  • Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (2016)
  • Appointed to European Science Foundation College of Expert Reviewers (2016)
  • Appointed to editorial board, Social Anthropology; and JRAI (2016).
  • Appointed to New Zealand’s National Research Review panel for Social Sciences (‘PBRF’) 2012.
  • Commissioned by Stanford University Press to edit abook series, ‘The Anthropology of Policy’ (2013)
  • Invited Expert Evaluator, EU Framework 7 research programme, Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities Work Programme (2011; also 2010, 2006 and 2004).

Areas of expertise

  • Anthropology and public policy: Social Theory
  • Ethnography of organisations: The European Union
  • Audit culture: Anthropology of Corruption
  • University reform and globalisation

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Wright, S., & Shore, C. (Eds.) (2017). Death of the public university? Uncertain futures for higher education in the knowledge economy. New York: Berghahn Books. Pages: 338.
  • Shore, C. (2017). “100% pure New Zealand”: National branding and the paradoxes of scale. In U. Hannerz, A. Gingrich (Eds.) Small countries: Structures and sensibilities (pp. 47-66). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Kohn, T., & Shore, C. (2017). The ethics of university ethics committees: Risk management and the research imagination. In S. Wright, C. N. Shore (Eds.) Death of the Public University? Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy (pp. 229-249). Oxford: Berghahn Books.
  • shore, C., & Wright, S. (2017). Privatising the public university: Key trends, counter-trends and alternatives. In S. Wright, C. Shore (Eds.) Death of the Public University? Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy (pp. 1-27). Oxford: Berghahn Books. Related URL.
  • Shore, C. (2017). Audit culture and the politics of responsibility: Beyond neoliberal responsibilization?. In S. Trnka, C. Trundle (Eds.) Competing responsibilities: The politics and ethics of contemporary life (pp. 96-117). Durham, UK: Duke University Press.
  • Amsler, M., & Shore, C. (2017). Responsibilisation and leadership in the neoliberal university: A New Zealand perspective. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 38 (1), 123-137. 10.1080/01596306.2015.1104857
  • Shore, C., & Wright, S. (2015). Audit culture revisited: Rankings, ratings, and the reassembling of society. Current Anthropology, 56 (3), 421-444. 10.1086/681534
  • Shore, C., & Wright, S. (2015). Governing by numbers: Audit culture, rankings and the new world order. Social Anthropology, 23 (1), 22-28. 10.1111/1469-8676.12098


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 8, Room 807
New Zealand

Web links