School of Social and Political Science

Finance and economic sociology


Providing sociological analysis of financial markets and institutions

We have particular expertise in the sociological analysis of contemporary financial markets. Our work includes analysis of high-frequency trading and the governance of financial institutions.

An example of our work in this area is Donald MacKenzie's Advanced Investigator project - Evaluation Practices in Financial Markets - funded by the European Research Council. This examines the factors that shape evaluation practices, including technological change, organisational processes, external regulation and the articulation between monetary evaluation and other ‘orders of worth’.

Nathan Coombs was the principal investigator on a Leverhulme Trust-funded project, Governing Financial Algorithms, providing important answers to questions such as: what is an algorithm?

Research staff
Relevant publications

Some of our key publications are listed below. For more detailed lists please visit our personal pages in our People section of the website.

Nathan Coombs (2016) What is an algorithm? Financial regulation in the era of high-frequency trading, Economy and Society, 45(2): 278-302.

Donald MacKenzie (2018) Material Signals: A Historical Sociology of High-Frequency Trading, American Journal of Sociology, 123(6): 1635-1683.

Liz Mcfall (2014) Devising consumption: cultural economies of insurance, credit and spending. London: Routledge.

Tod Van Gunten (2015) Cohesion, consensus and conflict: Technocratic elites and financial crisis in Mexico and Argentina, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 56(5): 366-390.

Related people and projects