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Academic Staff

Dr Linsey McGoey

Staff positionSenior Lecturer

Linsey McGoey trained as a sociologist at the London School of Economics, and moved to Essex after working at the University of Oxford as a research fellow. 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 has acted as an advisor to the World Health Organization and the European Neuroscience and Society Network, funded from 2007-2012 by the European Science Foundation. Currently co-director of the Centre for Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI).

Current research
  • I'm working on three research projects. The first is a long-standing research programme exploring the usefulness of ignorance and "strategic unknowns" in social, economic, and political arenas. This ten-year project has led to two edited collections (one with Matthias Gross), and will culminate in a book, aimed at a general audience, forthcoming with Zed in 2016. Second, I've been carrying out qualitative interviews with different stakeholders in global development in order to explore the pros and cons of the growing influence and power of private philanthropic actors such as the Gates Foundation in global health, global agriculture and public education. I've published articles on this topic in Third World Quarterly, Poetics, and I'm currently finishing a book. My third project is on the politics of abundance, exploring how different heterodox economists and sociologists are challenging orthodox economic perspectives on wealth, surplus and scarcity. I'm directing the 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. Twitter @LinseyMcGoey

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 (2010 – 2014)
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 – )



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

Gross, M. and McGoey, L (eds) (forthcoming, 2015) Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies (London, Routledge).

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

Working Paper  

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

Selected Publications

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

McGoey, L. 2012. Strategic unknowns: towards a sociology of ignorance. Economy & Society 41(1): 1-16.

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, Walhberg, A and Reiss, J. 2011. The Global Health Complex. (Introduction, Special Issue of BioSocieties).

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. "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



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