Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI)

Part of Department of Sociology and Criminology

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We highlight transformation processes of socio-economies, both contemporary and historical

The Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) is interdisciplinary, global and comparative in scope, addressing big issues facing the world today.

We provide a space for the development of a shared set of theoretical and empirical interests, encouraging dialogue between different perspectives and approaches in order to advance the field of economic sociology.

On the basis of our breadth and range of research interests, our combination of economic sociology and political and cultural economy, our interest in the multi-modality of capitalist economies, and a strong focus on consumption and innovation, we have developed a distinctive identity.

A strong feature of our research culture is the global reach of our research, and an approach that is both historical and comparative. International collaborative research in Europe, USA, South America and the Asia Pacific are established areas of our research.

Our research

Our research areas

CRESI is the home of economic sociology at Essex, carrying out pathbreaking research on economic sociology, economic justice, and the political economy of economic inequalities.

We have a strong interest in critically challenging regimes of power that compound wealth concentration and perpetuate different forms of racial capitalism and worker exploitation.

Our centre is led by scholars who have made pioneering contributions to the political economy of corporate power, critical scholarship on global philanthropy, feminist political economy, the sociology of power and ignorance, cultural economy, and political anthropology.

Our research interests include the following:

  • The finitude of earth's resources (land, water, energy)
  • Human rights and economic justice
  • Feminist political economy
  • Welfare regimes and pensions
  • Racial capitalism, slavery and forced labour - historical and contemporary
  • The pharmaceutical industry
  • Work and employment
  • Gender budgeting and fiscal sociology
  • Economies of knowledge and epistemic injustice
  • Bazaar economy and commons
  • Urban studies and enclaving

We emphasize the value of collaborative research within the Department of Sociology and Criminology, as well as interdisciplinary research with researchers and staff in other parts of the University.

We have close links to the Human Rights Centre, the Centre for Ideology and Discourse Analysis (CIDA), the Essex Business School, the Centre for Global South Studies (CGS), and the School of Life Sciences.

Our theoretical approaches

A number of different theoretical approaches and substantive areas of focus are strongly represented within the Centre. These include:

  • Network theory and science and technology studies (STS)
  • Feminist political economy
  • Political ecology
  • Global justice, reparations and mutual aid
  • Human rights theory, racial justice and economic justice
  • Post-Marxist theory
  • Urban and political anthropology
  • Neo-Polanyian approaches
  • Sociology of consumption
  • Economic history
  • Cultural economy and history
  • Bazaars and popular economies
  • Urban studies and enclaving

Through our research, our regular seminars, and conferences, we stimulate dialogue between these approaches, contributing new insights to research on global economic inequality, global philanthropy, tax justice, racial capitalism, urban economics and political anthropology, and economies of care.

Our history

The Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) was established by Founding Director Professor Mark Harvey in 2007. Professor Harvey is the author of numerous influential books, including, most recently, Inequality and Democratic Egalitarianism: Marx's Economy and Beyond' and Other Essays, written in 2018 and co-authored with Professor Norman Geras.

With his strong research focus on political economy, the circulation of global commodities, and theories of economic justice, Professor Harvey positioned CRESI to play an important role in national and international discussions about efforts to combat growing global economic inequality and environmental degradation. As Emeritus Professor at the University of Essex, Professor Harvey remains an involved and inspiring presence at CRESI.

From 2017 to 2023, Professor Linsey McGoey was Director of CRESI. A social theorist and economist sociologist, her key publications including No Such Things as a Free Gift (Verso, 2015), and The Unknowers: How Strategic Ignorance Rules the World (Bloomsbury, 2019). Professor McGoey played a core role in expanding the reach of CRESI’s international collaboration and scope, hosting over 40 seminars with national and international guest speakers, and pioneering a new role for student involvement with CRESI events through multiple mentorship and frontrunner schemes, and through co-hosting CRESI events with Essex Students’ Union and the Black Social and Political Society (BSPS). Like Professor Harvey, Professor McGoey remains on the steering group of CRESI.

In 2023, Dr Maitrayee Deka and Dr Jason Sumich became Co-Directors of CRESI.

Highlights of our work

Journal articles

Events and appearances

 Our most notable appearances:
Our events:

CRESI hosts regular seminars featuring internationally renowned speakers and guests, as well as facilitating visiting student and professorial research visits from scholars across the world.

Many of our webinars and seminars are organised in close collaboration with student groups, including the Essex Students’ Union, the Black Social and Political Society (BSPS), and a student-led webinar on resource use and democracy in Bolivia.

To view all upcoming CRESI events, please visit the Department of Sociology and Criminology events calendar.



Global Ideas is a podcast hosted by CRESI on critical debates from voices in different parts of the world working and creatively thinking about how to live together in times of crisis. In our first podcast, we spoke to academic and poet Dr Soibam Haripriya, who works at the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi (IIITD) on critical thinking and creative writing.

We spoke about the politics of working with different writing genres at a time when there is increasing censorship and shrinking spaces to develop ideas and collaborations. More specifically, it examines the intersection of poetry and scholarship to critically analyse violence and intimate conflicts.

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Want to view all upcoming CRESI events?

The Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation host regular seminars, conferences and events throughout the year to develop our research culture. Our events provide a space for discussion of ongoing research and allow you to test out research ideas in a friendly and supportive environment. To view all upcoming events organised by the Centre, visit the Departmental events calendar.

Visit the Department of Sociology and Criminology events calendar

Working paper series

Our working paper series is internally refereed and a central vehicle for the dissemination of our research. It aims to achieve rapid and wide dissemination of the achievements arising from the full range of our research projects, as well as provide a route to publication for doctoral students. Since it has been established, it has a record of high levels of downloads across the world.

Our education and doctoral students

CRESI staff are recognised experts in their fields and are frequently asked to give advice to national government departments, local authorities, NGOs and commercial organisations.

Our projects have included advice on business strategies, masterclasses and workshop sessions as well as contributions to steering boards and reviews of evidence.

The Centre provides a focus and a magnet for existing PhD students currently supervised by staff in the Department of Sociology and Criminology, and for new students.

Our series of seminars and workshops assist the development of a research culture and identity around economic sociology. By stimulating interaction and enhancing the cohesion of a substantial part of the Department’s research activity, we provide a forum for developing research agendas.

We encourage you, as a doctoral student, to get involved in our research projects, giving you the opportunity to participate directly in the core research of the Centre. You will be very much ‘part of the team’ of a already supportive research environment.

For more information on how to get involved with CRESI, please contact one of our Co-Director, Jason Sumich.

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Are you looking for postgraduate research opportunities?

The Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation plays host to a lively postgraduate research community. If you want to become a postgraduate research student or find research supervision, we can help you.

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Stay up to date with CRESI

Discover the very latest announcements from CRESI by joining the JISC mailing list. You can find out more about our latest publications, events and activities by visiting JISC.

Visit JISC
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Contact us
Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Department of Sociology and Criminology University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 873049