Ignorance Studies and The New Politics of Wealth Distribution

The Essex Accounting Centre warmly invites you to join Dr Linsey McGoey from the University of Essex, Department of Sociology as she explores the growing field of ignorance studies and how widespread assumption is wrong and why it matters now.

  • Wed 13 Mar 19

    14:00 - 16:00

  • Colchester Campus


  • Event speaker

    Dr Linsey McGoey, Reader in Department of Sociology, University of Essex

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Essex Accounting Centre Research Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Essex Business School

  • Contact details

    Dr Osamuyimen Egbon

The aim of the Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) research seminar series is to support our world class research activities in four key areas; social responsibility and corporate governance, (management) accounting change (in privatised, public and third sectors), global development, corruption and accountability, and reporting,regulation and capital markets. The seminar series is also expected to promote interdisciplinary research that links the work of the centre with others both within the university and with external institutions.


Seminar abstract

A paradigm shift is underway in the social sciences.

For at least 60 years, mainstream economic thought emphasised that inequality is not in itself a central component of well-being; what matters most is poverty alleviation.

This belief is shifting today as the problem of in-country inequality grows more acute, leading to renewed interest in a problem that preoccupied classical political economists; the problem of rent-seeking.

This talk explores the origins of the current paradigm shift, linking criticism of the 'marginal' turn in neoclassical theories of income distribution to earlier classical theories of economic value developed in the late eighteenth century. 

The popular assumption today is that Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, was not bothered by inequality and indifferent to problems of distributive justice.

Applying theories developed in the growing field of ignorance studies. This talk demonstrates how that widespread assumption is wrong and why it matters now.


This is an open event. Please feel free to bring your colleagues, friends and classmates along.

Speaker bio

Dr Linsey McGoey is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Social Theory and Economic Sociology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex.

She is recognised internationally for playing a pioneering role in the establishment of ignorance studies, an interdisciplinary focused on exploring how strategic ignorance and the will to ignore have underpinned economic exchange and political domination throughout history.

Her research on ignorance has led to new conceptual frameworks for understanding the political value of ignorance and the unknown.

Peer-reviewed articles have appeared in;

  • Economy and Society
  • Theory
  • Culture and Society
  • Science
  • Technology and Human Values
  • Politix
  • The British Journal of Sociology

Dr McGoey is the author of No Such Thing as a Free Gift (Verso, 2015) and The Unknowers (Zed, forthcoming 2019). She is also a founding editor with Matthew Gross and Micheal Smithson, of the Routledge Research in Ignorance Studies series of books. 

She is on the advisory board of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Solidarity, University of Vienna, the editorial board of Economy and Society, and the Editorial Advisory Board of Finance and Society.

Dr McGoey held the visiting fellowship at the Brocher Foundation, the LSE and Sciences Po. 

She writes widely for general audiences, with articles in

  • The Guardian
  • Jacobin
  • Fortune
  • Spectator
  • Open Democracy

Media coverage of her work include

  • Radio France
  • The Hindu
  • BBC Radio 4
  • BBC World News
  • The New Humanist
  • The Washington Post
  • New York Times
  • The Globe and Mail
  • Canada's CBC News.
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