Professor Fairburn is a leading New Zealand social historian, breaking new ground by asking how social integration and deviance might be measured in modern society. The sophistication of his questioning and answers is matched by his archival resourcefulness and critical rigour. His work is characterised by the interplay between empirical research and theoretical debate, an aspect that has made his writings of great interest to both historians and social scientists. His most recent book, “Social History: Problems, Strategies and Methods”, is international in scope and a powerful and persuasive analysis of the problems and prospects for social history. Professor Fairburn has effectively incorporated the techniques and paradigms of science into historical research, displaying relentless intelligence and an ability to assemble a broad range of evidence.