Fellows Detail

Professor Robert van Krieken

BA (Hons)(UNSW), PhD (UNSW), LLB (Hons)(Sydney)

Elected: 2016

Discipline: Sociology

Specialisation: history of the self, civilizing and decivilizing processes, genocide, childhood, sociology of law, history and sociology of celebrity


Robert van Krieken is Professor of Sociology at the University of Sydney. The fields of research in which he has had most significant impact, nationally and internationally, have been the historical sociology of childhood, the Stolen Generations and the question of ‘cultural genocide’, socio-legal studies, with a focus on family law, social theory, with particular focus on Elias, Foucault, and Luhmann, and the sociological understanding of celebrity. He was instrumental in the establishment of the sociology discipline at the University of Sydney, where it is now a core part of the School of Social & Political Sciences and the University of Sydney’s growing international reputation in the social sciences. He has designed, developed and taught much of the program’s curriculum, ranging from sociological theory and methods, to childhood, self and society, power and the state, law and social theory, sociology of the family, sexuality, organisations, deviance, social justice, and celebrity society.

Robert also managed the establishment of the socio-legal studies program in 2007, laying the foundations for increasing diversification of the intellectual exchanges between law and the social sciences. His work on childhood, the Stolen Generations, and cultural genocide has had a significant impact on the debates around the treatment of Indigenous children and families.

He is the lead author of the Pearson introductory sociology textbook, Sociology, the most widely-used textbook in Australia shaping the sociological understanding of successive generations of sociology students.

Robert has also made a significant contribution to the international profile of Australian sociology through his work on the Executive Committee of the International Sociological Association, serving there for 8 fours, four as Vice-President for Finance and Membership, and he is a member of the local organizing committee for the 2022 ISA World Congress at the University of Melbourne.


Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Sydney (2001-2009)

Associate Dean (Research) Faculty of Arts, University of Sydney (2002-2004)

Professor of Sociology, University College Dublin (2009-2011)

Director, Social Science Research Centre, University College Dublin (2009-2011)

Professor of Sociology, University of Sydney (2011-present)

Chair, Department of Sociology & Social Policy, University of Sydney (2012-2014)


Senior Research Fellow, ANU Research School of Social Sciences, Reshaping Australian Institutions Project.

Visiting Professor, School of Sociology, University College Dublin

Visiting Professor, Institute für Soziologie, Universität Wien,

Visiting Professorial Fellow, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales.

Vice-President, International Sociological Association

President, ISA Research Committee 17, Sociology of Organizations

Fellow of Senate, University of Sydney


‘Norbert Elias and emotions in history’, in Passion, Power and Elias, edited by D. & A. Brooks, London: Routledge: 2014: 19-42.

‘Elias and Law’, Annual Review of Law & Social Science, forthcoming.

Celebrity Society. London: Routledge, 2012.

‘Celebrity, humanitarianism and settler-colonialism: GA Robinson and the Aborigines of Van Diemen’s Land’, in Celebrity Humanitarianism and NorthR08;South Relations, edited by L.R08;A. Richey, London: Routledge, 2015: 189-209.

‘Celebrity’s history’, in The Routledge Handbook of Celebrity Studies, edited by Anthony Elliott, forthcoming.


Website: http://www.robertvankrieken.net/
Email: robert.van.krieken [at] sydney.edu.au

Contact Information

Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

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