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PERC was launched in October 2014, based in the Politics Department, with affiliations to Sociology and Media. It has been established in parallel to the Politics Philosophy and Economics BA degree. Our co-directors are Dr Will Davies (Politics) and Prof Aeron Davis (Media), with an academic membership drawn from various departments across Goldsmiths, and an Advisory Board of public intellectuals and critical economic thinkers.

What we want to do

PERC seeks to refresh ‘political economy’, in the original sense of the term, as a pluralist and critical approach to the study of capitalism. In doing so it challenges the sense of economics as a discipline, separate from the other social sciences, aiming instead to combine economic knowledge with various other disciplinary approaches. This is a response to recent critiques of orthodox economics, as immune to interdisciplinarity and cut off from historical and political events.

At the same time, PERC engages with innovative cultural approaches to economy, as manifest in the ‘social studies of finance’, which reflect on the dynamic interaction between economic knowledge and economic practice. Questions of the ‘performativity’ of economics, the authority of economic experts and the relationship between academic research and the public (including, but not only, public policy-makers) are constant concerns running through PERC’s work.

Our research interests

Our research interests are organized under the following themes:

  1. Elites, Power & Inequality - How is class stratification changing today? Who are the ‘1%’, and what impact do they have on our politics, culture and geography? How to understand and challenge the power of ‘elites’, in the financial sector, government and professional services, whose own knowledge helps to shape and regulate the economy today?
  2. Debt, Money & Financialisation - How does ‘financialisation’ transform households, businesses and social relations? What is the role and power of debt in everyday life, and what are the prospects for transforming that?
  3. Instruments & Institutions - How do markets or monetary instruments get designed and created? Could this be done differently? What is the role of metrics, measures and standards in creating or discovering ‘value’ in society today?
  4. Politics, Policy & Neoliberalism - What is the role of the state and regulators in the construction and operation of markets? How has that role been conceived historically, and what alternatives exist, either empirically or theoretically? How should we conceive of politics and economics in an integrated fashion?
  5. Economic imaginaries and Public Knowledge - What is the status of economics and economic experts in the public sphere? How might economic knowledge be produced or disseminated differently, in ways that made a contribution to greater democratic engagement in economic policy issues? How does the economy – or issues such as debt, housing, markets – appear to those whose lives are most affected by it, as opposed to the experts who study it