David Christopher Thorns
MA, Litt.D, ONZM, FRSNZ
New Zealand has lost one of its pre-eminent social scientists. David Thorns died on Christmas day, 2020, in Christchurch. David had an international reputation as an urban sociologist. His activities and outputs were extensive, both locally and internationally.
David was born on the 26 August 1943 in County Durham, England, the son of a Methodist minister. This meant a peripatetic childhood as his father’s appointments changed every five years. He, along with his parents and elder brother, moved frequently throughout his early childhood and teenage years. He attended high school first in Portsmouth and then in Chippenham.
David completed a BA (Hons) at the University of Sheffield in 1964 and an MA at the University of Exeter in 1967, in sociology. He was a research assistant at the University of Nottingham (1964-65) and then became a lecturer in sociology at the University of Exeter while he was completing his masters. He was later to be awarded a doctorate (Litt.D) by the University of Canterbury (1982) in recognition of the quality of his scholarship.
David arrived in New Zealand in 1973 to take up a senior lectureship at the University of Auckland. The Department of Sociology, then under David Pitt, was undergoing a period of growth and a mix of international and local scholars were appointed through the 1970s. David had an immediate impact as a young and enthusiastic scholar, but also as a supportive and congenial colleague. He was to leave at the end of 1976 to become a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Canterbury. David spent the rest of academic life, 32 years, at Canterbury, rising to become a reader in 1979 and then a full professor in 1995. He was an Emeritus Professor of the university when he died.
David began his academic career as a rural sociologist at the University of Nottingham but he soon moved to focus on cities and was known internationally as an urban sociologist, with additional interests in housing, innovation (especially in contemporary knowledge economies), economic restructuring, urban planning and policy, economic inequality and globalisation.
David was equally active locally and internationally. He was involved with the local sociological association, initially as a member of the Executive of the Sociological Association of Australia and New Zealand (1974-75, 1981-83) and then as a member of the Sociological Association of Aotearoa/New Zealand when it was established. He was on the editorial board of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology from 1985 to 1990. In these, and other roles, he was to play a key part in the maturation of the discipline in New Zealand and to become one of its best known and most productive members.
He went on to fill a wide range of other roles in research and research funding, from being the inaugural chair (1997-2000) of the Social Sciences Marsden Fund Panel (as well as being a member of the Humanities panel) to membership of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology’s Social Sciences Advisory Group (1991-94) and the Health Research Council’s Public Health Committee (1994-96). He was a Board Member of the Centre for Housing Research Aotearoa New Zealand and an active member of the Australasian Housing Researchers Network. He was the first Social Sciences Vice President of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a key member of the Building Research Capability in the Social Sciences (BRCSS) when it was established with $8.5 million funding in 2004. David participated in the establishment of BRCSS and served on the Management Board. He was also active in UNESCO’s Social Sciences Sub-Committee (1996-2008).
His expertise was recognised, and frequently called upon, by a number of government departments and agencies, including the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Economic Development, Housing Corporation and Statistics New Zealand.
These local roles were paralleled by an extraordinary range of international activities. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the International Sociological Association’s (ISA) Housing and Built Environment Research Committee (1994-98) as well as other ISA committees : Community Studies, Urban and Regional Studies, and International Tourism. David was active in the Australian Housing and Urban Research Network, he was the New Zealand representative on UNESCO’s Habitat 2, he participated in the United Nation’s Habitat World Forum in 2004 and in 2006 and he was appointed as a member and then Vice President of the International Social Sciences Council. He was on the governing body of the Asia Pacific Network for Housing Research. Some of us felt that David’s international reputation and standing was not fully appreciated within New Zealand.
David underpinned these activities with a number of funded research projects and a wide range of publications and other outputs. The research was marked by collaboration with colleagues and students (who often became colleagues in turn). There was his Marsden-funded project on “Winners and Losers in the Knowledge Society”, an FRST-funded programme on the meaning of house and home, and also on work, especially online workers and the relationship to community development, a BRCSS project on wealth creation and distribution, and another on globalisation and urban transformation.
David wrote extensively and his publications and thinking had an impact on the scholarly literature. For example, with Ann Dupuis, he wrote about “ontological security” and home ownership, and this research attracted considerable interest. He wrote and edited 11 books, was the author or co-author of 58 refereed articles and 42 book chapters.
At the University of Canterbury, he became Head of the Department of Sociology and served in this position for nine years (1982-1990). He was a senior and important leader in the discipline and he went on to establish the Social Science Research Centre at the university in 2000. The university acknowledged his various contributions with the University of Canterbury Research Medal in 2002. In 2009, he became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. As Richard Bedford has noted, this was to recognise his “first class research, outstanding contributions to teaching, sustained leadership in the development of the social sciences and innovation in building research capability”. His contribution and international standing were reflected by the award of a Fellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1995, one of the first social scientists to be recognised in this way.
When David retired in mid-2009, it was testimony to the very high regard that he was held in that there were 12 speeches, and speakers ranged from then then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury, Rod Carr, to former students (Ann Dupuis, Ann Winstanley), a former head of the department (Bill Willmott) to colleagues from around New Zealand.
A colleague and friend, Harvey Perkins, has described David as the “consummate intellectual, always reading, debating and writing” with an interest in the “big picture”. He was a quiet and respectful man who was a friend and colleague to many. But he was also very disciplined and determined and his achievements are extensive in an outstanding academic career. It is testimony to his lasting contribution that current debates about housing continue to reflect his intellectual contribution, his empirical work and the people that he trained and worked with.
Family was very important to David. He married Gloria Kathleen Corrigan in 1966 and David described her as “the love of his life”. Gloria died in 2018. David and Gloria had two daughters, Karen and Joy, who each have two sons. David was an extremely proud father and grandfather.
He was involved in a number of community activities, including as a member of the Christchurch Secondary Schools Council, and as a Board Member and then a Trustee of Papanui High School
Faith was important to David and he followed in his father’s footsteps. He was, for fifty years, a lay preacher in the Methodist Church. Sports, at least watching them, gave him a lot of pleasure, especially cricket, as well as football and then more recently, rugby. He did take an interest in gardening but not in home maintenance. Gloria used to tell the story about the time when their new house was being built in Christchurch and the builder told David that there was “room for your work bench in the garage” to which David replied “room for my what?”.
David was a consummate scholar who played a key role in not only the development of sociology in Aotearoa/New Zealand but also in the development of the social sciences as an important contributor to science and policy development in this country. His gentle manner, support for others and ready smile will be remembered in many circles.
Paul Spoonley with help from Richard Bedford, Ann Dupuis and Harvey Perkins.
Perkins, H. C, and Thorns, D. C., Place, Identity and Everyday Life in a Globalizing World. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2012.
Thorns, D.C., The Transformation of Cities: Urban Theory and Urban Life. Palgrave/Macmillan Press, London, 2002. Translated into Turkish as Thorns, D.C.. Kentlerin Donusumu. CSA Global Yayin Ajansi, Istanbul 2004.
Saville-Smith K., and Thorns D.C., Community based Solutions for Sustainable Housing , CRESA, Wellington, 2001.
Thorns, D.C. and Sedgwick, C., Understanding Aotearoa/New Zealand: A historical statistical base for Social Scientists. Dunmore Press, Palmerston North, 1997.
Thorns, D.C., Fragmenting Societies: A Comparative Analysis of Regional and Urban Development, Routledge and Kegan Paul. International Library of Sociology, London, 1992.
Kilmartin, L. Thorns, D.C. and. Burke, T., Social Theory and the Australian City, George Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1985.Translated into Japanese and published by Tuttle-Mori Agency Inc. Tokyo 1988.
Pearson, D.G. and Thorns, D.C., Eclipse of Equality, George Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1983.
Kilmartin, L. and Thorns, D.C., Cities Unlimited, George Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1978.
Thorns, D.C., Quest for Community, George Allen and Unwin, London, 1976.
Thorns, D.C. (Editor), New Directions in Sociology. Rowan and Littlefield, New Jersey, 1976.
Thorns, D.C., Suburbia, MacGibbon and Kee, London, 1973. Paladin Edition, London, 1974.
Refereed Articles :
Thorns, D.C., Housing Booms and Changes to New Zealand Housing Affordability: The policy challenge Journal of Asian Public Policy, March 2009.
Oxley, L., Walker, P., Thorns D. and Wang H., The Knowledge Economy/Society: The Latest Example of Measurement Without Theory. Journal of Philosophical Economics November 2008.
Wang H and Thorns D.C., Different forms of knowledge and the newChinese Immigrants adaptation of New Zealand’s Knowledge Society, International Social Science Journal, 2008.
Dupuis, A. and Thorns, D., 'Gating Practices in a Risk Society', Urban Policy and Research, 26(2), June: 145-157 2008.
Perkins, H.C, Thorns D.C. and Newton, B. M., Real estate advertising and intra-urban place meaning: real estate consultants at work, Environment and Planning A 2008
Ashton, H and Thorns, D.C., The role of information communication technology in retrieving local community, City and Community, 6:3 211-229 2007
Thorns, D.C. The Remaking of Housing Policy: the New Zealand Housing Strategy for the 21st century. Housing Finance International Vol XX, 4, 20-28, 2006
Carlaw, K., Oxley, L., Walker, P., Thorns, D.C., Nuth, M., Beyond the Hype : Intellectual Property and the Knowledge Society/Economy Journal of Economic Surveys Vol 20, 4, 633-690 2006.
Ashton H. and Thorns, D.C., Information Communication Technologies – to make or break community? Future Times, Vol 4 6-8, 2004.
Leonard, L. Perkins, H. and Thorns, D.C., Popular Media and New Zealanders Understanding of Home. Housing and Social Theory, 97-110 2004.
Thorns, D.C., The Challenge of Doing Sociology in a Global World: The Case of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Current Sociology 51, 6, 689-708 2003.
Winstanley, A, Thorns, D.C. and Perkins, H., Nostalgia, Community and New Housing Developments: A Critique of New Urbanism Incorporating a New Zealand Perspective. Urban Policy and Research 21, 2, 175-189, 2003.
Winstanley, A, Thorns, D.C. and Perkins, H., Creating Home: Exploring Residential Mobility. Housing Studies 17, 6, 813-832, 2002.
Perkins, H.C and Thorns, D.C., A decade on: reflections on the Resource Management Act 1991 and urban planning in New Zealand, Environment and Planning B 28, 5: 639-654.2002.
Perkins, H.C. and Thorns, D.C., Gazing or Performing? Reflections on Urry’s Tourist Gaze in the Context of Contemporary Tourist Experience in the Antipodes International Sociology, vol 16(2) 185-201. 2001.
Campbell. S. and Thorns, D C., Changes to New Zealand Housing Policy at the beginning and end of the 1990s., Housing Finance Review, 2001/2 Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Thorns, D. C Housing Policy in the 1990s: New Zealand a Decade of Change. Housing Studies,Vol 15, 1, 129-138, 2000.
Perkins, H.C. and Thorns, D.C. House and Home and their Interaction with Changes in New Zealand’s Urban System, Households and Family Structures Housing, Theory and Society, Vol 1, 3 , 1999.
Dupuis, A. and Thorns, D. C., Home ownership and the Search for Ontological Security Sociological Review, Vol 46, 1, 24-47, 1998.
Dupuis, A. and Thorns, D. C., Regional variations in Housing and Wealth Accumulation in New Zealand Urban Policy and Research Vol. 15, 189-202, October 1997.
Thorns, D. C., The Global meets the Local : Tourism and the Representation of the New Zealand City. Urban Affairs Quarterly, Vol 33, 2, 189-208, 1997.
Dupuis, A. and Thorns, D. C., The Meaning of Home for Home Owners Housing Studies, 1996 Vol 11, 4, 485-501.
Thorns, D. C., Directions for New Zealand Sociology New Zealand Sociology, 1995
Thorns, D. C., Inheritance Law and family Change. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, Nov. 1995.
Thorns, D. C The Role of Housing Inheritances in Selected Owner-Occupied Societies, Britain, New Zealand, Canada. Housing Studies, Vol No 9, 4, 473-492, 1994.
Thorns, D. C., The Creation and Transfer of Housing Wealth: The experience of Elderly New Zealanders. Urban Policy and Research, 12, 4, 242-252, 1994.
Thorns, D. C., Housing Reform in New Zealand in the 1990s. Roof, November 1994.
Thorns, D. C., The End of the Welfare State? New Zealand in the 1990s. British Review of New Zealand Studies, 6, 61-74 1993.
Thorns, D. C., Sustainable Development : An Environmental, Economic or Social Issue , Pacific Institute of Resource Management, 1991.
Thorns, D. C., The New International Division of Labour and Urban Change : A New Zealand Case Study, Comparative Urban and Community Research, Volume 2 : 68 - 101, 1989.
Thorns, D. C., The Impact of home ownership and capital gains upon class and consumption sectors. Society and Space. Environment and Planning D, Vol 7, 293 - 312 , 1989.
Thorns, D. C., The production of Homelessness. From individual failure to system inadequacies. Housing Studies, Vol. 4 : 253 - 266, 1989.
Pearson, D.G. and Thorns, D. C., "The corporatist thesis and the New Zealand state. A rejoinder", Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Vol. 23, 1987.
Thorns, D. C., Homelessness. A public issue or a private trouble, Housing and Homelessness, Social Sciences Research Fund, Wellington, 1987.
Thorns, D. C., New solutions to old problems: Housing affordability and access within Australia and New Zealand, Environment and Planning A, Vol. 20 : 7l1- 82, 1988.
Pearson, D.G. and Thorns, D. C., A tale of two cities: Marriage and mobility within New Zealand, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Vol. 22, No. 2 : 208-224, 1986.
Thorns, D. C., New Zealand housing policy : Continuities and changes, Housing Studies, Vol. 1, No. 3 : l82 -191, 1986.
Thorns, D. C., Age time and calendar time : Two facets of the residential mobility process", Environment and Planning A, Vol. 17, 829-844, 1985.
Hall R., Thorns, D.C. and W.E. Willmott, Community class and kinship : Bases for collective action within localities, Environment and Planning D, Space and Society, Vol. 2, No. 2, 435-444, 1984.
Thorns, D. C., Industrial re-structuring and change in the property and labour markets of Britain, Environment and Planning A, Vol. 14 : 745 - 763, 1982.
Thorns, D. C., Crisis in society : Urban and regional implications, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Vol. 18, No. 1 : 61 - 70, 1982.
Thorns, D. C., The implications of differential rates of capital gain from owner-occupation for the formation and development of housing classes. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol. 5 : 205 - 217, 1981.
Thorns, D. C., Changing forms of housing need, People and Planning, Vol. 17, 1981.
Thorns, D. C., Owner-occupation, its significance for wealth transfer and class formation, Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 4 : 705 - 728, 1981.
Thorns, D. C., Housing markets and sub-markets. An analysis of the role of financial institutions in the allocation of housing, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Vol. 16, No. 1, 4-13 1980.
Thorns, D. C., Problems in the development of a comparative sociological theory of urbanisation, Papers in Urban and Regional Studies, Vol. 4, 88-98, 1980.
Thorns, D. C. and Smith B.N., Housing research, problems and possibilities, Public Administration, Vol. 40, No. 1 : 51 - 61, 1978.
Thorns, D. C. and L. Kilmartin, Symposium on Control of the City in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Vol. 13, No.1, 1977.
Kilmartin, l. and Thorns, D. C., Urban social problems and prospects, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Vol. 13, No. 1, 1977.
Thorns, D. C., Migration inverses et stratification sociale, in P. Rambaud (ed.), Sociologia Rurale, Mouton, 1976.
Thorns, D. C., Suburban values and the urban system, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 1975.
Thorns, D. C., North American suburbs, Vol. xviii of Peoples of the World, 1975.
Thorns, D. C., Suburban myths and ways of life, International Review of Community Development, 31-31, 153-160, 1974.
Thorns, D. C., "Work and its definition", Sociological Review : 543 - 555, 1971.
Thorns, D. C., "Participation in rural planning", International Review of Community Development,, 23-24, 129-138, 1970.
Thorns, D. C., "The changing system of rural social stratification", Sociologia Ruralis : 161 - 178, 1968.
Thorns, D. C., "The influence of social change upon the farmer", The Farm Economist, 1968.
Thorns, D. C., "The changing system of rural social structure", Town Planning Institute, l967.
Book Chapters :
Allan M. and D. Thorns, Being Face to Face - A state of Mind or Technological
Design, in Handbook of Research on Socio Technical Designing and Social Networking Systems, B. Whitworth and A. (de) Moor, Editors. IGI Global Publications: Hershey PA. PP.439-453 2009..
Thorns, D.C., “ City Life and City People” (2009) Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand.
Perkins, H., Thorns, D.C. and Winstanley A., 2008 House and Home: Methodology and
Methods for Exploring Meaning and Structure. In Mangin, P. and Thompson S (Eds) Qualitative Urban Research Elsevier 2008.
Thorns, D.C., The New Zealand experience of housing allowances, In Kemp, P. (Ed)
Housing Allowances in Comparative Perspective, 39-59 Bristol, Policy Press 2007.
Perkins, H . and Thorns, D.C. ,Home Away from Home: the Primary/Secondary- home Relationship In McIntyre, N. Williams, D and McHugh K.(Eds) Multiple Dwelling and Tourism 67-81 CABI Wallingford 2006.
Thorns, D.C., Home, housing, health and wellbeing. In Howden –Chapman, P and Carroll, P. Housing and Health, 40-8, Steele Roberts, Wellington, 2004.
Perkins, H and Thorns, D.C ., The Making of Home in a Global World , In Forrest R and Lee J, (Ed). Housing and Social Change: East-West Perspectives, 120-139, Routledge, London 2003.
Winstanley, A., Perkins, H.C. and Thorns, D.C. Parallel Spaces: teenagers’ and Parents’ Experiences of Private and Public Spaces. Gollop, M. and McCormack, J.. Eds Children’s Issues Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, 2002.
Thorns, D. The Research Policy Interface: Challenges and Opportunities. 2001 Royal Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Papers no59, 2000.
Perkins, H.C and Thorns. D.C Houses, Homes and New Zealanders’ Everyday Lives (In C. Bell Ed), Everyday Life in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Dunmore Press, 2000.
Thorns. D.C., “Class and Consumption”. In Maclennan, G. Spoonley, P and Ryan A., Exploring Society, Pearson Education, Auckland, 2000
Perkins, H.C and Thorns. D.C., Sustainability and Urban Planning Perkins, H. and Memon, A., (eds) Environment Planning in New Zealand 2cnd Edition 2000.
Perkins, H.C and Thorns. D.C., The Impact of place promotion strategies on urban planning and development with H. Perkins). In Perkins, H. and Memon, A., (eds) Environment Planning in New Zealand 2cnd Edition. 2000.
Thorns. D.C., Globalisation and Sustainability: Failed Projects and New Agendas. In De Bruin (Ed) “The Global Society: Issues and Challenges for New Zealand”, Massey University 1999
Thorns, D.C., Intergenerational Conflicts and the Debate over Welfare Reform. In Du Plessis, R and Fougere, G (eds) Politics, Policy and Practice; Essays in honour of Bill Willmott., Working Paper 17, Department of Sociology, University of Canterbury, 1998
Fountain J and Thorns. D.C., “Heritage Tourism and New Zealand Cities”. In Perkins, H and Cushman, G., Time Out? Leisure, Recreation and Tourism in New Zealand and Australia, Addison Wesley Longman Auckland, 1998.
Perkins, H.C and Thorns. D.C., Urban sustainability – the basis for a renewed urban planning and management project. In Urban Sustainability in New Zealand, Royal Society of New Zealand 1998.
Perkins, H.C. and Thorns. D.C., “Urban planning in New Zealand: the influences of the Resource Management Act and the Local Government Act. In Urban Sustainability in New Zealand”, Royal Society of New Zealand 1998
Thorns. D.C., “Intergenerational Conflict : Impacts upon Policies and the Experiences of the Elderly”. In Living Environment, Health, and Well-being for the elderly : Cross National Perspectives, International Longevity Centre, Japan, 1997.
Thorns. D.C., “Sociology”, In The New Zealand Knowledge Base, Social Sciences, Ministry of Research Science and Technology, Wellington,1997
Thorns. D.C. Generational Capture? The Debate about Intergenerational Equity. In Minichiello, V., Chappell, N. and Kendig, H., (eds) Sociology of Ageing. Thoth Publications, Melbourne, 1996.
Thorns, D.C., “Class, Locality and Family-Bases of Communion in a Locality” ( with Hall,B and Willmott, W.) In Crow, G. The Sociology of Rural Communities V2,The International Library of Critical Writings in Sociology, V7, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. 1996
Thorns, D.C., Housing inheritance and class reproduction in Forrest, R. and Murie, A. (eds) Housing and Family Wealth in Comparative Perspective, Routledge, 1995.
Thorns, D.C., “ Urban”, in Spoonley, P. Pearson, D and Shirley, I (eds) New Zealand Society. 2cnd Edition Dunmore 1994
Thorns, D.C., The impact of housing tenure and wealth accumulation upon the housing experiences of the elderly : the implications for housing policy. In P.G.Koopman-Boyden (ed) The Impact of New Zealand’s Ageing Society, Daphne Brasell and Associates, 1993.
Thorns, D.C., “Toronto in the 1980s. A Post-Modern City or Post-Fordist City?” In Watson, S. and Gibson, K. (eds) Post-Modern Cities, Sydney University Press, Sydney, 1993.
Thorns, D.C., “ Sociological Perspectives on the City”. In Spoonley P et al. (eds). New Zealand Society, Dunmore, 1990.
Thorns, D.C., "Housing issues", in Report of the Royal Commission on Social Policy, Vol. 3, Part ii : 3 - 25, Wellington, Government Printer, l988.
Thorns D.C., "Who gets housed : The changing nature of housing affordability and access in advanced capitalist societies", in J. Friedrichs (ed.), Problems of Affordable Housing and the Homeless, Walter de Gruyter and Co., Berlin, 1988.
Thorns, D.C., “Regional and Urban Restructuring : The Restructuring of New Zealand's Traditional Social Base”. In. M. Roche and R. Le Heron (ed). Economic Structural Changes. SSRFC, Wellington, 1988.
Hall R., Thorns D.C. and Willmott W.E., "Directions for locality research in New Zealand" in Change and diversity in New Zealand, (eds) B.J. Walker and J.A. Johnston, Social Sciences Research Fund, Wellington. 1987
Thorns, D.C., "Owner-occupation, the state and class relations", in C. Wilkes and I. Shirley (eds), In the Public Interest, Benton Ross, Auckland, 1984.
Thorns, D.C., "In the urban tradition : Communion, conflict and revolution", in I. Shirley (ed.), Development Tracks. The Theory and Practice of Community Development, Dunmore Press, Palmerston North : 50 - 69, 1982.
Thorns, D.C., "The internationalisation of urban problems : Comparing convergent international trends", in Applied Urban Research, Vol. 1, G.M. Hellstern, F. Speer and H. Wallman (eds), Bundesforschungs-anstalt fur landeskunde und Raunordnung, Bonn : 16 - 19, 1982. Above reprinted in Yadav, C.S. (ed.), Comparative Urban Research, Concept Publishing, New Delhi, l986.
Thorns, D.C., "Housing policies and the influence of the growth of owner-occupation in social and political change", in Applied Urban Research, G.M. Hellstern, F. Speer and H. Wallman (eds), Vol.3, G.M. Hellstern, F. Speer and H. Wallman (eds), Bundesforschungs-anstalt fur landeskunde und Raunordnung, Bonn, 39-49, 1982. Above reprinted in Yadav, C.S. (ed) Cities and Housing, Concept Publishing, New Delhi, 1987.
Thorns, D.C., "Suburbs: Myth or reality", in A. Blowers, C. Brook, P. Dunleavy and L. McDowell (eds), Urban Change and Conflict, Open University Press, London, 1981.
Thorns, D.C., "Problems in the development of a comparative sociological theory of urbanisation", in R. Forrest, J. Henderson and P. Williams (eds), Urban Political Economy and Social Theory, Gower, London : 39 - 50, 1981.
Thorns, D.C., "Constraint versus choice in the analysis of housing allocation and residential mobility", in V.A. Karn and C. Ungerson (eds), The Consumer Experience of Housing: Cross National Perspectives., Saxon House, London, 1980.
Thorns, D.C., "The role of the family life cycle in residential mobility", Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Birmingham, Working Paper 69 : 31, 1980.
Thorns, D.C., "The nature and bases of community", in J.S. and J.M. Dodge (eds), Community Care of the Disabled, University of Otago, 1979.
Thorns, D.C., "Urban social structure and stratification", in G. Bush and C. Scott (eds), Auckland at Full Stretch, Auckland University and City, 1977.
Thorns, D.C., "Urbanism, suburbanism and social class", in D.C. Pitt (ed.), Social Class in New Zealand, Longmans, Auckland, 1977.
Obituary was lodged on website on Monday, 15 February 2021.