European Political Science

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 441–456 | Cite as

organising for a more diverse political science: australia and new zealand



Until the 1970s neither Australian nor New Zealand political studies gave much attention to issues of diversity. This reflected both the makeup of the profession and the majoritarian nature of the political systems that was the major object of its attention. We argue that feminist organising on both sides of the Tasman had led to greater pluralism within the discipline. Using a comparative institutional approach, we trace the relationship between organising within the professional associations and the acceptance of greater diversity of approach and standpoint. We find, however, that while both countries’ Associations have become somewhat more inclusive, a hierarchy of knowledge still exists that may prove an obstacle to feminist and Indigenous political scientists joining discipline-based departments and programmes.


diversity gender political science discipline Australia New Zealand 



The authors thank Richard Reid for assistance with data collection and Carol Johnson, Jacqui True, Heather Devere, Bronwyn Hayward and Kate McMillan for their comments. The European Political Science reviewers provided very constructive criticism, which helped strengthen the article.


  1. Aitken, J. (1980) ‘Women in New Zealand politics’, in H. Penniman (ed.) New Zealand at the Polls. The General Election of 1978, Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, pp. 197–214.Google Scholar
  2. Al Janabi, A., McMillan, K. and Lam, C. (2014) Advancing the Status of Women in Politics and International Relations in New Zealand, available at, accessed 10 February 2016.
  3. American Political Science Association. (2011) Political Science in the 21st Century: Report of the Task Force on Political Science in the 21st Century, available at, accessed 12 December 2015.
  4. Arashiro, Z. and Barahon, M. (2015) Women in Academia Crossing NorthSouth Borders: Gender, Race, and Displacement, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  5. Bargh, M. (2015) ‘Contexts for decolonizing the discipline of political science in Aotearoa-New Zealand’, Women Talking Politics, Issue 1, 2015, available at, accessed 10 March 2016.
  6. Brown, M.C. (1983) National Health Insurance in Canada and Australia: A Comparative Political Economy Analysis, Canberra: Australian National University.Google Scholar
  7. Chappell, L. and Brennan, D. (2009) ‘Women and gender’, in R.A.W. Rhodes (ed.) The Australian Study of Politics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 338–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cowden, M., McLaren, K., Plumb, A. and Sawer, M. (2012) Womens Advancement in Australian Political Science: Workshop Report, available at, accessed 12 December 2015.
  9. Curtin, J. (2013) ‘Women and political science in New Zealand: The state of the discipline’, Political Science 65(1): 63–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Curtin, J. (2015) ‘Feminist contributions to New Zealand political science,’ Women’s Studies Journal 29(1): 4–20.Google Scholar
  11. Curtin, J. (2017) ‘Gender mainstreaming and political science teaching in New Zealand: Still a work in progress’, in E. Levintova and A. Staudinger (eds.) Gender in Teaching and Learning Political Science, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  12. Curtin, J., Chappell, L. and Hill, L. (1999), ‘Gender audit of the Australian Journal of Political Science 1979–1998: A preliminary report’, in J. Brookfield (ed.) Proceedings of the 1999 Conference of the Australasian Political Studies Association, 26–29 September, University of Sydney, pp. 155–8.Google Scholar
  13. Evans, E. and Amery, F. (2016) ‘Gender and politics in the UK: Banished to the sidelines’, European Political Science, advance online, doi: 10.1057/eps.2015.79.
  14. Foster, E., Kerr, P., Hopkins, A., Byrne, C. and Ahall, L. (2013) ‘The personal is not political: At least not in the UK’s top politics and IR departments’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations 15(4): 566–85.Google Scholar
  15. Glezer, H., Mercer, J. and Strong, P. (1973) ‘WEL strategy, 1972: The methods of a protest lobby’, in H. Mayer (ed.) Labor to Power: Australia’s 1972 Election, Sydney: Angus & Robertson.Google Scholar
  16. Goot, M. and Reid, E. (1975) Women and Voting Studies: Mindless Matrons or Sexist Scientism, London: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Hayward, B. (2008) ‘Let’s talk about the weather: Decentering democratic debate about climate change’, Hypatia 23(3): 79–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnson, C. (2014) ‘Hard heads and soft hearts: The gendering of Australian political science’, Australian Feminist Studies 29(80): 121–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Johnson, C. (2015a) ‘Playing the gender card: The uses and abuses of gender in Australian politics’, Politics and Gender 11(2): 291–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Johnson, C. (2015b) ‘Women, gender and feminism’, Australian Journal of Political Science: A Review 50(4): 695–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Julian R. (1985) ‘Women: How significant a force?’, in H. Gold (ed.) New Zealand Politics in Perspective, 1st edn, Auckland: Longman Paul.Google Scholar
  22. Lodge, J. (1976), ‘New Zealand women academics: Some observations on their status, aspirations, and professional advancement’, Political Science 28(1): 23–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Maddison, S. (2009) Black Politics: Inside the Complexity of Aboriginal Political Culture, Sydney: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  24. Maliniak, D., Powers, R. and Walter, B.F. (2013) ‘The gender citation gap in international relations’, International Organization, doi:  10.1017/S0020818313000209.Google Scholar
  25. Masuoka, N., Grofman, B. and Feld, S.L. (2007) ‘The political science 400: A 20-year update’, PS: Political Science and Politics 40(1): 133–45.Google Scholar
  26. McAllister, I. (2006) Australian Journal of Political Science Report to the 2006 Annual General Meeting of the Australasian Political Studies Association.Google Scholar
  27. Milne, R.S. (1966) Political Parties in New Zealand, Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  28. Mitchell, A.V. (1969) Politics and People in New Zealand, Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs.Google Scholar
  29. Nicholl, R. and Cousins, M. (1998) ‘Brief encounter? Women and Political Science. The first fifty years’, Political Science 50(1): 38–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. NZPSA. (1977) Newsletter, New Zealand Political Studies Association 3(1), Winter, available at, accessed 10 March 2016.
  31. NZPSA. (1982) POLS. The New Zealand Political Studies Association Newsletter 7(2), August, available at, accessed 10 March 2016.
  32. NZPSA. (1986) POLS. The New Zealand Political Studies Association Newsletter 11(2), July, available at, accessed 10 March 2016.
  33. NZPSA. (2015) ‘Disrupting the discipline’, in NZPSA Conference Programme, Massey University, available at, accessed 10 March 2016.
  34. NZPSA. (2016) ‘Women's Caucus’, available at
  35. Pateman, C. (1982) ‘Presidential address: Women and political studies’, Politics 17(1): 1–6.Google Scholar
  36. Rowse, T. (2009) ‘Indigenous politics’, in R.A.W. Rhodes (ed.) The Australian Study of Politics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 314–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sanders, W. (2015) ‘Writing on indigenous politics: The journal’s first fifty years’, Australian Journal of Political Science 50(4): 679–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sawer, M. (1980) ‘Women in the political science profession’, Supplement to Politics 15(1): 1–4.Google Scholar
  39. Sawer, M. (2003) The Ethical State? Social Liberalism in Australia, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Sawer, M. (2004) ‘The impact of feminist scholarship on Australian political science’, Australian Journal of Political Science 39(3): 553–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sawer, M. (2014) ‘Feminist political science and feminist politics’, Australian Feminist Studies 29(80): 137–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sharman, J.C. and Weller, P. (2009) ‘Where is the quality? Political science scholarship in Australia’, Australian Journal of Political Science 44(4): 597–612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Statistics NZ. (2012) Māori Population Grows and More Live Longer, Press Release, available at, accessed 10 March 2016.
  44. Summers, A. (1975, 1994, 2002) Damned Whores and God’s Police, Ringwood: Penguin.Google Scholar
  45. Tan, L. (ed.) (2015) Women Talking Politics, Issue 1, available at, accessed 10 March 2016.
  46. Tan, A., Buck, J. and Schrader, E. (2009) ‘Portraits of New Zealand political science, 1980–2008: A picture is worth eighty words’, Political Science 61(1): 81–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. True, J. (2013) The Political Economy of Violence Against Women, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Smith, L.T. (1999) Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, London; New York: Zed BooksGoogle Scholar
  49. West, J. and Jacquet, J. (2012) ‘Women as academic authors, 1665–2010’, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Special Report, available at, accessed 7 March 2016.
  50. Wilson, H. (2006) ‘Thirty years of MIA: A commemorative editorial’, MIA 119(May): 3–20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics and International RelationsAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Politics and International RelationsUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations