Market-Based Initiatives as Solutions to Techno-Scientific Problems


MIST was a 5 year ERC programme of research (2013-2018).

Principal Investigator: Daniel Neyland

Markets appear in discussions of an ever broader variety of social, political, technological, scientific and occasionally economic issues. Many of these discussions position markets as the basis for resolving (even simplifying and delegating responsibility for) otherwise complex problems in fields such as healthcare, education, security and the environment. Areas that once were the provision of the state are now imbued with devices, metrics, rankings, resources, regulations, experts and tenders oriented toward bringing into being a variety of market-based initiatives.

The logics built into these initiatives of efficiency, effectiveness, better services, at lower costs – all made transparent and accountable to public beneficiaries – appear difficult to resist. However, this programme of research will seek to step back from these logics and ask fundamental questions of: what are markets and how do they work; what counts as value, for whom, decided in what ways; who and what is accountable to whom and what, through what means; what counts as effective or equitable and how is the counting accomplished?

Through up-close ethnographic research, the MISTS programme investigates four sub-projects in which market-based initiatives have come to the fore, in the fields of: security, healthcare, the environment and education. The programme also involves working papers, events, workshops, presentations, on-line discussions and outreach. If you would like to join in the MISTS programme for updates, invitations and news on research opportunities please contact the Principal Investigator, Daniel Neyland at d.neyland (

Funded by the European Research Council Established by the European Commission.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement n° 313173.