After receiving a PhD in Political Theory, published as History and Event by Edinburgh University Press, I was awarded a research grant from the Leverhulme Trust (2014-17) to investigate the regulation of financial trading algorithms. Since then I have specialised in examining post-crisis financial regulation by combining social theory with a technically-oriented approach to empirical research. My work has been published in Economy and Society, The British Journal of Sociology, Theory & Event, The European Legacy, Journal of Political Ideologies, and International Review of Economics Education, among others. In 2015 I co-founded the journal Finance and Society, which has emerged as an influential journal in the interdisciplinary field of finance studies. With Matthias Thiemann, I recently guest edited a special issue of Economy and Society titled 'Recentering central banks' (2022), which explores how the governance techniques of central banks condition the limits of state sovereignty. I am currently working on a second book, The Impossible Performance of Financial Stability, organised around the thesis that financial stability governance is an impossible performance which requires a complex staging of sociotechnical rituals and representations to maintain credibility. From June 2022, I am co-director of the Centre for Science, Knowledge and Policy (SKAPE). I am the course organiser for two undergraduate honours courses (Economic Sociology and Sociology of Freedom), Sociology's Senior Personal Tutor, and the School of Social and Political Science's Academic Misconduct Officer.
(see full list on Google Scholar)
Coombs, N. (2015) History and Event: From Marxism to Contemporary French Theory, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Coombs, N. and Thiemann, M. (Eds.) (2022) Special issue: Recentering central banks. Economy and Society, 51(4).
Articles and chapters
Coombs, N. (in preparation) Regulatory infrastructures: A typology of infrastructural power in financial governance. In: Brandl, B., Westermeier, C. (eds.) Cambridge Global Companion to Financial Infrastructures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Coombs, N. (in preparation) Minsky's liberalism: Reading the financial instability hypothesis as a tragic political theory.
Coombs, N. (forthcoming) The dangers of central bank planning for freedom and democracy. Accounting, Economics and Law: A Convivium.
Coombs, N and Thiemann, M. (2022) Recentering central banks: Theorizing state-economy boundaries as central bank effects, Economy and Society, 51(4): 1-24.
Coombs, N. (2022) Narrating imagined crises: How central bank storytelling exerts infrastructural power, Economy and Society, 51(4).
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. (2020) Financial regulation. In: Borch, C. and Wosnitzer, R. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Critical Finance Studies, 137-153. Abingdon: Routledge.
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. (2017) Macroprudential versus monetary blueprints for financial reform, Journal of Cultural Economy, 10(2): 207-216.
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) 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.
Coombs, N. (2016) Did Lenin refound Marxist dialectics in 1914?, The European Legacy, 21(1): 1-18.
Cameron, A., Coombs, N. and Samman, A. (2015) For a post-disciplinary study of finance and society, Finance and Society, 1(1): 1-5.
Coombs, N. (2014) Speculative justice: Quentin Meilassoux and politics, Theory & Event, 17(4).
Coombs, N. (2011) The political theology of red Toryism, Journal 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.
Julius K. (passed 2022) 'Realising catastrophe: the financial ontology of the Anthropocene' (supervised with Donald MacKenzie)
Cassar, D. (passed 2022) 'Inscribing markets, shaping policy: a sociological investigation into the yield curve' (supervised with Donald MacKenzie)