Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Nathan Coombs

Nathan Coombs
Dr Nathan Coombs
Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow
5.12 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK
+44 (0)131 6508259
Research Interests
Sociological Theory, Financial Markets, Social Studies of Finance, financial regulation, History of Political Thought, Economic Sociology, Social theory

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • Wednesday 3-5pm (during term time)

General Research Profile

My PhD was awarded by Royal Holloway, University of London in 2013 and concerned theories of order and change in classical and contemporary social theory. Since then, my research has been situated in the social studies of finance and has concentrated on the governance of complex economic systems. I am the principal investigator on a Leverhulme-funded research project entitled 'Governing Financial Algorithms: A Social Study of Regulation and Compliance'. In 2015 I co-founded the scholarly journal Finance and Society.

Leverhulme Project

The Leverhulme project investigates how regulators are responding to potential risks and abuses associated with algorithmic and high-frequency trading. Keeping with the theme of how regulators are employing new technologies in order to augment their knowledge and encourage cultural change in the industry, my current research focuses on the stress testing programmes of the Bank of England, European Banking Authority and U.S. Federal Reserve. 

Teaching (2016/17)

Convenor and Lecturer: Economic Sociology: Theories and Enquiries SCIL11033 SCIL 10077

Lecturer: Economy and Society unit in Sociology 1B: The Sociological Imagination


PhD in Political Theory, Royal Holloway, University of London

MSc in International Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

BSc (hons) in Economics and International Development, University of Bath

Selected Publications

(see full list of publications on Google Scholar)


History and Event: From Marxism to Contemporary French Theory, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (2015)

[reviewed in Science and Society, Radical PhilosophyMarx & Philosophy Review of Books and Political Studies Review]

Research articles

Narrating Imagined Crises: Bank Stress Tests and Cultural Reform in Finance (in preparation)

What is an Algorithm? Financial Regulation in the HFT Era, Automated Trader, Issue 41 Q4 (2016): 14-18.

What is an Algorithm? Financial Regulation in the Era of High-Frequency Trading, Economy and Society, Vol. 45, No. 2 (2016): 278-302 [featured in RegBlog]

Did Lenin Refound Marxist Dialectics in 1914?The European Legacy, Vol. 21, No. 1 (2016): 1-18

Speculative Justice: Quentin Meilassoux and PoliticsTheory & Event, Vol. 17, No. 4 (2014)

The Political Theology of Red ToryismJournal of Political Ideologies, Vol. 16, No. 1 (2011): 79-96

Nomological Disputation: Alain Badiou and Graham Harman on Objects, Speculations: A journal of speculative realism, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2010): 135-144

Review article

Macroprudential versus Monetary Blueprints for Financial ReformJournal of Cultural Economy, Vol. 10, No. 2 (2017): 207-216

Book chapters

The Sociology of Financial Regulation. In: Borch, C. and Wosnitzer, R. (eds) Routledge Handbook of Critical Finance Studies. London: Routledge (forthcoming 2018).

Underlabouring for Science: Althusser, Brassier, Bhaskar. In: Malik, S and Avanessian, A. (eds) Genealogies of Speculation: Materialism and Subjectivity since Structuralism, London: Bloomsbury (2016): 271-299.

Review essay

Bringing Financial Regulation Back Down to EarthWork, Employment and Society, Vol. 31, No. 1 (2017): 197-200


For a Post-Disciplinary Study of Finance and Society (with Angus Cameron and Amin Samman), Finance and Society, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2015): 1-5


Donald Trump, Dodd-Frank and the politics of academic critique, SPERI comment, 29 February (2017)

Clamping down - on the Bank of England's stress test, Socializing Finance, 2 December (2016)

Research grants

'Governing Financial Algorithms: A Social Study of Regulation and Compliance', Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship Scheme, 2014-17.

Professional Service

I am a founding editor of the academic journal Finance and Society (launched in 2015) and was previously an editor of the Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies (from 2009 to 2015). 

I am willing to anonymously review manuscripts in my areas of expertise.  I have reviewed for Political Studies, The European Legacy, Journal of Political Ideologies, Security Dialogue, Science, Technology and Human Values, Science and Technology Studies, Information, Communication and Society, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, and Oxford University Press.

Research Supervision

I can act as a supervisor or in an informal mentoring role on projects concerning social and political theory, economic sociology, science and technology studies, and the social studies of finance.