School of Social and Political Science

Dr Nathan Coombs

Job Title

Lecturer in Economic Sociology, Sociology Senior Personal Tutor, School Academic Misconduct Officer

Nathan Coombs' photo

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)



Teaching (2021/22)

Course organiser and co-lecturer: Economic Sociology: Theories and Enquiries SCIL10077 (semester 2)

Course organiser and co-lecturer: Sociology of Freedom SCIL10093 (semester 2)


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)


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

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

Research articles

Coombs, N and Thiemann, M. (2021) Recentering central banks: theorising state-economy boundaries as central bank effects, under review.

Coombs, N. (2021) Narrative authority: how central bank storytelling transforms the state-economy boundary, under review.

Coombs, N. (2020) What do stress tests test? Experimentation, demonstration and the sociotechnical performance of regulatory science, The British Journal of Sociology, 71(3): 520-536.

Coombs, N. and Frawley, A. (2019) The value in 'value': An exercise for pluralising economics instruction, International Review of Economics Education, 30: 1-11.

Coombs, N. (2016) What is an algorithm? Financial regulation in the era of high-frequency trading, Economy and Society, 45(2): 278-302. [featured in The Regulatory Review]

Coombs, N. (2016) Did Lenin refound Marxist dialectics in 1914?The European Legacy, 21(1): 1-18.

Coombs, N. (2014) Speculative justice: Quentin Meilassoux and politicsTheory & Event, 17(4).

Coombs, N. (2011) The political theology of red ToryismJournal of Political Ideologies, 16(1): 79-96.

Coombs, N. (2010) Nomological disputation: Alain Badiou and Graham Harman on objects, Speculations: A journal of speculative realism, 1(1): 135-144.

Book chapters

Coombs, N. (2020) Financial regulation. In: Borch, C. and Wosnitzer, R. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Critical Finance Studies, 137-153. Abingdon: Routledge.

Coombs, N. and van der Heide, A. (2020) Financialization as mathematization: The calculative and regulatory consequences of risk management. In: Mader, P., Mertens, D. and van der Zwan, N. (eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Financialization, 358-68. Abingdon: Routledge.

Coombs, N. (2016) Underlabouring for science: Althusser, Brassier, Bhaskar. In: Malik, S and Avanessian, A. (eds.) Genealogies of Speculation: Materialism and Subjectivity since Structuralism, 271-99. London: Bloomsbury.

Review articles and reviews

Coombs, N. (2021) Review of: The Asset Economy by Adkins, Cooper and Konings. Sociology, first published January 28.

Coombs, N. (2017) Macroprudential versus monetary blueprints for financial reform, Journal of Cultural Economy, 10(2): 207-216.

Coombs, N. (2017) Bringing financial regulation back down to earth, Work, Employment and Society, 31(1): 197-200.

Other publications

Coombs, N. (2016) What is an algorithm? Financial regulation in the HFT era, Automated Trader, Issue 41 Q4: 14-18.

Cameron, A., Coombs, N. and Samman, A. (2015) For a post-disciplinary study of finance and society, Finance and Society, 1(1): 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)

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 interests

Research interests

Nathan Coombs is a lecturer in Economic Sociology whose research brings a science studies perspective to bear on financial regulation and central banking. His work combines social theory with a fine-grained empirical approach to open up regulatory black boxes and interrogate expertise, accountability and legitimacy in financial governance. He has published articles in Economy and Society, The British Journal of Sociology, International Review of Economics Education, The European Legacy, Theory & Event, and Journal of Political Ideologies, among others. He is a founding co-editor of the journal Finance and Society (2014-). His first book was published by Edinburgh University Press: History and Event: From Marxism to Contemporary French Theory (2015). He is writing a second book, The Performance of Financial Stability, which places Plato, Goffman and Callon into dialogue to unravel the paradoxes of scientific authority in financial stability governance.

Research grants

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

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.

If you are interested in being supervised by Nathan Coombs, please see the links below (opening in new windows) for more information:

Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

By appointment, Wednesday 3-5pm (during term time)

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Coombs N. Financial regulation. In Borch C, Wosnitzer R, editors, The Routledge Handbook of Critical Finance Studies. 1 ed. Abingdon: Routledge. 2020. p. 137-153
Cairns D, Coombs N, Devine T, Hearn J, Jarvie G, MacLeod G et al. Letter concerning the David Hume Tower. 2020.
Coombs N. What do stress tests test? Experimentation, demonstration, and the sociotechnical performance of regulatory science. British Journal of Sociology. 2020 Jun;71(3):520-536.
Coombs N, Van der heide A. Financialization as mathematization: The calculative and regulatory consequences of risk management. In Mader P, Mertens D, van der Zwan N, editors, The Routledge International Handbook of Financialization. Routledge. 2020. p. 358-68
Coombs N, Frawley A. The value in 'value': An exercise for pluralising economics instruction. International Review of Economics Education. 2019 Jan;30.
Coombs N. Macroprudential versus monetary blueprints for financial reform. Journal of Cultural Economy. 2017 Mar 4;10(2):207-216.
Coombs N. Bringing financial regulation back down to earth. Work, Employment And Society. 2016 Jul 11.
Coombs N. Underlabouring for Science: Althusser, Brassier, Bhaskar. In Avanessian A, Malik S, editors, Genealogies of Speculation: Materialism and Subjectivity since Structuralism . London: Bloomsbury Academic. 2016
Coombs N. Did Lenin refound Marxist dialectics in 1914? European Legacy. 2016 Jan 2;21(1):1-18. 1.
Coombs N. What is an algorithm? Financial regulation in the era of high-frequency trading. Economy and Society. 2016;45(2):278-302.
Coombs N. History and Event: From Marxism to Contemporary French Theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015. 224 p. (Taking on the Political).
Coombs N. For a post-disciplinary study of finance and society. Finance and Society. 2015;1(1):1-5.
Coombs N. Speculative Justice: Quentin Meillassoux and Politics. Theory and Event. 2014 Dec;17(4).