Mr Luke Duane Oldfield

MA (Waikato)

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy

Research | Current

Reconsidering incarceration in the pursuit of social and economic benefits: What role could populism play in modifying the trajectory of penal reform?

My thesis examines the limited success of progressive politicians in counteracting penal populism and the consequential rise in persons imprisoned. An overarching hypothesis is that politicians advocating for decarceration might be more successful if they were to also draw from a more populist-style of politics.

A mixed method approach begins by interviewing key persons in Alberta politics during the reign of Premier Ralph Klein. Through blending data in these interviews with the theoretical literature on populism, I have developed an experimental tool for use in a New Zealand wide public opinion survey. My goal is to determine the relative strength of a populist-style of politics being deployed as an argument for decarceration.

Teaching | Current

I am currently a Research Assistant to Dr. Lara Greaves.



Winner: Best Postgraduate Essay 2019, Sociological Association of Aotearoa / New Zealand.


Second Place: Graduate Blog Competition, Sociological Association of Aotearoa / New Zealand.


Team Co-Ordinator: Fact or Fiction - The 2017 New Zealand General Election, a joint project between Radio New Zealand and the University of Auckland's Public Policy Institute.

Research Assistant: Vote Compass - The 2017 New Zealand General Election, a joint project between Television New Zealand, Vox Pop Labs and the University of Auckland.  


Finalist: Nola Campbell Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Waikato.

Captain: Waikato's University Challenge Team, Prime Television.


Recipient: Summer Research Scholarship, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Waikato.


Finalist: Mature Student Award for Excellence, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Waikato.

Areas of expertise

Political Systems, Political Theory, Australian & New Zealand Politics and the Politics of Crime & Punishment.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

Contact details

Primary office location

HSB - EAST - Bldg 201E
Level 9, Room 901
New Zealand

Web links