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Saturday 24 October 2015 (booking now)
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Academic Staff

Dr Linsey McGoey

Position in departmentSenior Lecturer
Staff positionCRESI (Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation) Co-Director
E-maillmcgoey (non Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk)

Linsey studied journalism at Carleton University, Ottawa, before working briefly as a news editor and freelance journalist. She moved to the UK for a MSc in Social Anthropology and a PhD in Sociology at the London School of Economics. This was followed by an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship at the School of Geography, University of Oxford, and a James Martin Fellowship at the Said Business School, Oxford. Linsey 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

Ongoing research projects explore the commercial and political usefulness of strategic ignorance, and the relationship between global philanthropy and growing wealth inequalities. She is on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Economy and Society and Finance and Society, and is currently directing the ESRC seminar series (2013-2016) "Evidence in Interdisciplinary Contexts: the value and ethics of randomized controlled trials." See Spaces of Evidence. Twitter @LinseyMcGoey

Research interests
  • Bioethics
  • Social theories of knowledge and ignorance
  • Economic sociology 
  • Global health governance
  • Human rights-based approaches to health and development
Teaching responsibilities

Current PhD Students:
Eduardo Goncalves (co-supervision, with James Allen-Robertson); David Lee; Daniela Boraschi (co-supervision, with Pete Fussey)



McGoey, L. (under contract) Masters of the the Unknown: how ignorance rules politics and the market (London and New York, Zed).

McGoey, L. (2015) No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy (London and New York, Verso).

  • See a Kirkus review here.

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

  • Discussed in The New York Times here; and the Washington Post here

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, L. 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.

Select recent comment articles 

McGoey, L. 'Choosing what not to know: Germany, Greece and the Value of strategic ignorance' Open Democracy, 2015.

McGoey, L. 'Syriza's finance minister has a big idea - but will Germany accept it?' Guardian, 2015.

McGoey, L. 'The power of ignorance and the problem of abundance' Open Democracy, 2012. 


September 2014 - invited keynote speaker, France Stratégie, a division of the Office of the Prime Minister, in concert INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research). See summary here.  

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