My research

I am a qualitative social scientist interested in interested in innovation, organization, culture and enterprise. I have long been fascinated by how market-based innovations and ‘market thinking’, in the hands of individual and institutional entrepreneurs, transform social life. My early career empirical work focused on the ethics and politics of such innovations. I studied the possibility of organ markets, the implementation of ‘fairness’ in transplant allocation, the social construction of the small-company investor, and how online dating enacts instrumentally rational, calculative romances. More recently, I have become interested in the importance of materiality in determining the shape of innovation. My monograph Creating Economy explores the interplay of materiality, sociality and intellectual property rights in the work of creative entrepreneurs, while in 2016/7 a Leverhulme Trust fellowship allowed me to compile a ‘historical sociology’ of two small company focused stock exchanges founded in London in the 1990s, showing how these new markets arose as a result of material path dependencies and institutional overflows. My ongoing work includes a project on the legitimacy of materiality and its role in shaping new institutions, work with early career colleagues on the ethics and politics of innovations in graduate recruitment and government bureaucracy, and – one day – a project on the cultural economy of wrestling. I advocate participatory, impactful work, an approach that I seek to follow in my own practice: the academic as public entrepreneur, seeking to articulate new modes of organizing as a source of social transformation.

You can see more about my academic work, including links to open access papers, on my University of St Andrews page.