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Upcoming open days

Undergraduate Postgraduate
Colchester Campus
Saturday 20 September 2014 (booking now)
Saturday 25 October 2014 (booking now)
Southend Campus
Saturday 11 October 2014 (booking now)
Colchester Campus
Wednesday 5 November 2014 (booking now)

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Academic Staff

Dr Linsey McGoey

Staff positionSenior Lecturer
Office hoursWednesday 9.00 to 10.50
  • Dr. McGoey moved to Essex after a PhD in Sociology at LSE’s BIOS centre, followed by an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford’s School of Geography, and a James Martin fellowship in science and technology studies at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, based at the Said Business School, University of Oxford.

Current research
  • Dr. McGoey's research is focused on three broad areas. First, the sociology of ignorance and the usefulness of strategic unknowns in asserting expertise, evading liability and consolidating authority in daily and organizational life. Second, the politics of “philanthrocapitalism,” and a study of how new philanthropic players such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are reshaping the fields of global health and education delivery in US and global contexts, often with unintended or unspoken consequences. A third project is focused on the politics of abundance, exploring how a range of heterodox economists and sociologists have reconfigured notions of scarcity, excess and surplus wealth.

    Dr. McGoey was a visiting research fellow at the Brocher Foundation, Geneva (June-July 2011), and an advisory expert to the European Neuroscience and Society Network, a five-year network (2007-2012) funded by the European Science Foundation to explore the social and political implications of new developments in the neurosciences. She is an External Member of the Centre for Invention and Social Process at Goldsmiths College (CSISP), a Research Associate of the LSE's Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR), and she recently served as a Steering Group member of the World Health Organization's "Evidence of Impact" project, Maternal and Child Health (2011-2013). A WHO monograph from that project is available here.

    With Matthias Gross, Dr. McGoey is currently editing the first international handbook of ignorance studies. Drawing together scholars from the fields of law, biology, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, science studies and economics, the handbook, forthcoming from Routledge, investigates and illuminates the ways that the mobilization of ignorance can both threaten and facilitate the functioning of legal systems, military operations, financial markets and scientific development.

    Dr. McGoey is co-director of the Centre for Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) at the University of Essex.  

    She is also principal investigator of an ESRC seminar series (2013-2016) "Evidence in Interdisciplinary Contexts: the value and ethics of randomized controlled trials." Co-organized with William Davies, Ann Kelly, Nancy Cartwright, Salla Sariola and Ian Harper. Seminars will be announced on Spaces of Evidence.

Research interests
  • Social theories of knowledge and ignorance
  • Science and technology studies (STS)
  • Biopolitics; theories of power
  • Pharmaceutical regulation and controversies over drug safety and efficacy
  • Economic sociology 
  • Social studies of finance and financialization
  • The sociology of scarcity and abundance
  • Global health governance
  • Human rights-based approaches to health and development
  • Social justice movements
Teaching responsibilities

Current PhD Students:
Eduardo Goncalves (co-supervision, with James Allen-Robertson); David Lee; Tangmo Teamvan; Daniela Boraschi (co-supervision, with Pete Fussey)
Power, wealth and inequality in a global age  (2013 – )
Qualitative interviewing and analysis (2013 – )
First-year PhD colloquium (2013 – )
Theory in practice (2012)
Current Controversies in Sociology  (2012-2013)
Current Disputes in Sociology  (2010 - )
Current Controversies in Sociology (2010 - )
Contemporary debates in Social Theory (2010 - )
Researching Social Life II (2010 - )
Globalisation and Crime (2010 - )
Dangerous ideas (2013 – )


Books and Edited Collections

McGoey, L. (forthcoming) Masters of the Unknown: how ignorance rules politics and the market (Zed Books).

Gross, M. and McGoey, L. (forthcoming) Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies

McGoey, L. 2012 (Editor) Strategic unknowns: towards a sociology of ignorance. Special issue of Economy & Society.*

*Republished as McGoey, L (Ed) (Forthcoming, 2014) An Introduction to the Sociology of Ignorance: Essays on the Limits of Knowing London: Routledge.  

McGoey, L. 2011 (Co-editor, with Ayo Wahlberg and Julian Reiss). The Global Health Complex. Special Issue of BioSocieties.


McGoey, L. 2007 (Co-editor, with Ayo Wahlberg) An Elusive Evidence Base: The Governance and Construction of Randomized Controlled Trials. Special issue of BioSocieties

Working Paper  

Marres, N. and L. McGoey (2012) Experimental Failure: Notes on the Limits of the Performativity of Markets (CSISP working paper series).  

Peer-reviewed articles

McGoey, L. 2014 "The Philanthropic State: market-state hybrids in the philanthrocapitalist turn." Third World Quarterly. 35(1): 109-125.

McGoey, L. 2012. "The Logic of Strategic Ignorance." British Journal of Sociology 63(3) 553-576.

McGoey, L. 2012. "Philanthrocapitalism and its critics." Poetics. 40(2): 185-199

Davies, W and McGoey. 2012. "Rationalities of ignorance: On financial crisis and the ambivalence of neo-liberal epistemology." Economy and Society, 41(1): 64-83.

McGoey, L. 2010. "Profitable failure: Antidepressant drugs and the triumph of flawed experiments." History of Human Sciences, 23(1), pp/ 58-78.

McGoey, L. and Jackson, E. 2009. "Seroxat and the suppression of trial data: Regulatory failure and the uses of legal ambiguity." Journal of Medical Ethics, 36(2), pp. 107-112.

McGoey, L (2009) “Sequestered evidence and the distortion of clinical guidelines.” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 52(2):203-17.

McGoey, L. 2009. "Pharmaceutical Controversies and the Performative Value of Uncertainty." Science as Culture, 18(2), pp. 151-164.

McGoey, L. 2007. "On the will to ignorance in bureaucracy." Economy and Society, 36(2), pp. 212-235.

Book chapters

McGoey. 2011. Police reinforcement: the anti-politics of organizational life. In Reading Rancière, edited by Paul Bowman and Richard Stamp. New York, NY: Continuum.

McCoy, D. and McGoey. L.  2011. Global Health and the Gates Foundation – In Perspective. In Partnerships and Foundations in global health governance, edited by Williams and Rushton, Basingstoke: Palgrave.


Kendall, T., McGoey, L. and Jackson, E (2009) “If NICE was in the USA” Lancet, April 24


L. McGoey (2009) “Compounding risks to patients: selective disclosure is not an option” American Journal of Bioethics 9(8): 35-36



Selected Invited Talks

  •  “Pyrrhic ontologies: on social theories that eat themselves.” Warwick Sociology Seminar Series, University of Warwick, January 30, 2013
  • Blind leaders: on the politics of leverage.” Workshop on “Leadership in Global Health Governance” Queen Mary, University of London. January 19, 2013.
  •  “The Gates Effect.” School of Public Health. The University of Legon. Accra, Ghana. April 13, 2012.
  • “The Gates Effect.” University of Cape Coast. Cape Coast, Ghana. April 17, 2012. 
  • “Blind watchmen: strategic ignorance at the FDA” Workshop on “Uncertain Futures; temporality and changing regimes of knowledge.” Malaga. Sept 17-18, 2012.
  •  “Philanthrocapitalism and the politics of ignorance in global health.” Anthropology Seminar Series, Brunel University, November 22, 2012.
  •  “Blind watchmen: the value of strategic ignorance at the FDA.”  Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) seminar series, London School of Economics. November 13, 2012.
  • “Conflicts of interest in pharmaceutical regulation and philanthropy” (with E. Jackson). World Health Organization’s Department Ethics, Equity, Trade and Human Rights lecture series. June 22, 2011.

Selected Conference Organization

  • October 2013 Co-organizer (with Paul Hunt and Gen Sander) University of Essex / WHO consultation on “Evidence of human rights impact on health: successes, challenges and next steps.” Geneva. October 25.  
  • April 2010 Co-convenor (with Noortje Marres), “After Markets: Researching Hybrid Arrangements” (Symposium at Saïd Business School, April 23)
  • Oct. 2009 Convenor, “Strategic unknowns: the usefulness of ignorance and ambiguity in organizational life” (Symposium at Saïd Business School, October 9).
  • Dec. 2008 Co-convenor (with Nikolas Rose, Ayo Wahlberg and Julian Reiss,“The Science and Politics of Neglected-Disease Research: Philosophical and Bioethical Perspectives on International Health Inequalities”(Symposium at Brocher Foundation, Geneva, Dec 8-9)

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