Carver is a political theorist taking a textual, hermeneutic and postmodern approach to classic texts and problems. His longstanding interest is in analysis and translation of works by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and the relation of those studies to Marxism and the Marxist tradition in social thought and methodology of the social sciences. He has also taken an interest in feminist theories of sex, gender and sexuality, and the relation of that work to the sociology of masculinities, using this approach to reinterpret the 'malestream' canon of classic philosophers. He pursues this range of scholarly activities in an international setting and co-general-edits a book series on Globalization. His books and articles have been translated into German, French, Japanese, Korean and Chinese.
Since 1995 Carver has been a member of the Editorial Commission of the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe. Both in 1995/96 and in 2004/5 he was awarded a University of Bristol Research Fellowship. In 2002/3 he received the Arts and Humanities Research Board Research leave award, and again from the Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2005/6. Carver is also a member of the Political Studies Association Executive Committee. He served as Chair of the Publications Committee (2000–02), Chair of the Grants & Awards Committee (2003–05) and as Chair of the External Relations Committee (2005- ).