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Farewell to change maker, Dr David Nielson

28 November 2022

Dr David Nielson urged his students to think, embrace their journey and enjoy learning.

The University of Waikato mourns the passing of Dr David Neilson earlier this month. David was a member of the School of Social Sciences.

A Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy, David started at the University as a Lecturer in Anthropology and Politics in 1989. He was part of a team that developed Labour Studies into two popular majors within the Bachelor of Social Science.

With his early teaching revolving around the French Regulation School theory and Neo-Marxism, in 1998 David began focusing exclusively on Labour Studies and was instrumental in its shift into a multidisciplinary Sociology and Social Policy department.

David became a Senior Lecturer in 2000, continuing to infuse his work across a number of subjects throughout his time at the University.

As a teacher and supervisor, David urged his students to think, embrace their journey and enjoy learning. As a researcher, he aimed to carve out new theory and inspire social change.

His research career was in the midst of an ascent, marked by the recent publication of his book, ‘The Struggle to Make Democratic Socialism in the 21st Century’. David was very proud of this publication and looked forward to holding a launch event for it in the near future.

Driven by his academic interests, David was also committed to activism, taking on additional service roles in the community and being an active member of the Tertiary Education Union. David’s colleagues describe him as engaged with the theoretically complex, leaving a legacy of work underpinned by the Marxist tenet of the point of knowledge being to change the world.

The University extends its heartfelt condolences to David’s family, colleagues and friends.


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