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Dr Will Davies

Staff details

PositionSenior Lecturer in Politics
Email w.davies (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone+44 (0)20 +44 (020) 7717 3376
Dr Will Davies

Will Davies is a political economist with particular interests in neoliberalism, history of economics and economic sociology. His work explores the way in which economics influences our understanding of politics, society and ourselves, themes which he has addressed in two books, The Happiness Industry: How the government & big business sold us wellbeing (Verso, 2015) and The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, sovereignty & the logic of competition (Sage, 2014).

He is Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Centre, which explores critical, cultural and political perspectives on economic life, and Convener of the BA in Politics Philosophy & Economics. He is currently a Co-Investigator in the ESRC-sponsored Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity. Prior to doing his PhD, Will worked in public policy for think tanks including Demos and the Institute for Public Policy Research.

He writes regularly for a range of non-academic publications. These have included The Atlantic, The New Statesman, openDemocracy, Prospect and Chronicle Review.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD in Sociology – Goldsmiths, University of London – 2009
  • MA in Modern European Philosophy – University of Essex – 1999
  • BA in Social & Political Sciences – University of Cambridge - 1998

Teaching

Will teaches two undergraduate modules: Issues in Cultural & Political Economy (1st year) and Liberal Government & Power (3rd year). He is also Senior Tutor for 1st and 2nd year undergraduates in Politics.

Before joining Goldsmiths in 2014, he worked at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick; the Centre for Mutual & Employee-Owned Business, University of Oxford; and the Institute for Science Innovation & Society, University of Oxford.

Areas of supervision

Will is currently supervising two PhDs: one exploring neoliberalism as an ‘imaginary’ of contemporary culture and another analyzing the ideas surrounding the ‘limits to growth’, and the philosophical implications of sustainability.

Professional experience

Will sits on the editorial advisory boards of Journal of Cultural Economy, Renewal and the Goldsmiths Press. He has published a series of policy reports on the topic of employee ownership and co-operatives, including Reinventing the Firm (Demos, 2009), and continues to contribute to policy debates on ownership and corporate governance.

Featured work

  • The Happiness Industry: How the Government & Big Business Sold Us Wellbeing (Verso, 2015)
  • The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty & The Logic of Competition (Sage, 2014)
  • The Emerging Neocommunitarianism – Political Quarterly 2012 (Winner of the Bernard Crick award)
  • The Political Economy of Unhappiness – New Left Review 2010

Media appearances, grants and awards

Will has been a Co-Investigator on a number of ESRC-funded research projects. These include ‘Interrogating the Dashboard’ (2014-16) looking at the rise of real-time indicators in everyday life; ‘Go Home! Mapping Immigration Controversies’ (2013-15) on recent government immigration campaigns; ‘Spaces of Evidence’ (2014-16) a seminar series critically examining randomised control trials.

Research Interests

Dr Will Davies' research explores how we have come to understand and govern economic practices in the way that we do. To explore this, he draws on a combination of history of economics, the work of Michel Foucault, the pragmatist sociology of Luc Boltanski and related traditions of cultural and critical theory. His concern in all of this is the question of how political and philosophical issues have been excluded from everyday economic practices, and how they might be reintroduced, for critical and transformative purposes. He is especially interested in the history of neoliberalism, and more recently in how mental wellbeing has become an economic policy issue. In order to consider how economic institutions can be constructed differently, he has also carried out research on co-operatives and alternative economic practices.

Publications

Book

Financial Melancholia: Mental Health and Indebtedness
Davies, Will; Montgomerie, Johnna and Wallin, Sara. 2015. Financial Melancholia: Mental Health and Indebtedness. London: Political Economy Research Centre.

The Happiness Industry: How the government and big business sold us wellbeing
Davies, Will. 2015. The Happiness Industry: How the government and big business sold us wellbeing. London: Verso. ISBN 978-1-78168-845-8

The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty & The Logic of Competition
Davies, Will. 2014. The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty & The Logic of Competition. SAGE. ISBN 978-1446270684

Article

How Are We Now?: Real-time mood-monitoring as valuation
Davies, Will. 2016. How Are We Now?: Real-time mood-monitoring as valuation. Journal of Cultural Economy, ISSN 1753-0350

Elite Power Under Advanced Neoliberalism
Davies, Will. 2016. Elite Power Under Advanced Neoliberalism. Theory Culture and Society, ISSN 0263-2764

The return of social government: From ‘socialist calculation’ to ‘social analytics’
Davies, Will. 2015. The return of social government: From ‘socialist calculation’ to ‘social analytics’. European Journal of Social Theory, 18(4), pp. 431-450. ISSN 1368-4310

The Chronic Social: Relations of Control Within and Without Neoliberalism
Davies, Will. 2015. The Chronic Social: Relations of Control Within and Without Neoliberalism. New Formations, Winter, pp. 40-57. ISSN 0950-2378

'When is a market not a market? ‘Exemption’, ‘externality’ and ‘exception’ in the case of European State Aid rules'
Davies, Will. 2013. 'When is a market not a market? ‘Exemption’, ‘externality’ and ‘exception’ in the case of European State Aid rules'. Theory Culture & Society, 30(2), pp. 32-59. ISSN 0263-2764

'The Emerging Neo-Communitarianism'
Davies, Will. 2012. 'The Emerging Neo-Communitarianism'. The Political Quarterly, 83(4), pp. 767-776.

‘Ways of owning: towards an economic sociology of privatization’
Davies, Will. 2012. ‘Ways of owning: towards an economic sociology of privatization’. Poetics, 20(2), pp. 167-184. ISSN 0304-422X

‘Rationalities of ignorance: on financial crisis and the ambivalence of neo-liberal epistemology’
Davies, Will and McGoey, Linsey. 2012. ‘Rationalities of ignorance: on financial crisis and the ambivalence of neo-liberal epistemology’. Economy & Society, 41(1), pp. 64-83. ISSN 0308-5147

‘Knowing the Unknowable: The Epistemological Authority of Innovation Policy Experts’
Davies, Will. 2011. ‘Knowing the Unknowable: The Epistemological Authority of Innovation Policy Experts’. Social Epistemology, 25(4), pp. 401-421. ISSN 0269-1728

Economic advice as a vocation: symbioses of scientific and political authority
Davies, Will. 2011. Economic advice as a vocation: symbioses of scientific and political authority. British Journal of Sociology, 62(2), pp. 304-323. ISSN 0007-1315

The Political Economy of Unhappiness
Davies, Will. 2011. The Political Economy of Unhappiness. New Left Review, 71, pp. 65-80. ISSN 0028-6060

‘Economics and the “nonsense” of law: the case of the Chicago antitrust revolution’
Davies, Will. 2010. ‘Economics and the “nonsense” of law: the case of the Chicago antitrust revolution’. Economy and Society, 39(1), pp. 64-83. ISSN 0308-5147

Digital

"Swamped" by anti-immigration campaigns
Jones, Hannah; Bhattacharyya, Gargi; Forkert, Kirsten; Davies, Will; Dhaliwal, Sukhwant; Gunaratnam, Yasmin; Jackson, Emma and Saltus,, Roiyah. 2014. "Swamped" by anti-immigration campaigns.

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