Dr Linsey McGoey

Department of Sociology
Dr Linsey McGoey
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873544

  • Location

    6.356, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Tuesday 12 to 2.00



McGoey is Reader (Associate Professor) in social theory and economic sociology. She is recognized internationally for playing a pioneering role in the establishment of ignorance studies, an interdisciplinary field 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 appear in Economy and Society, Theory, Culture and Society, Science, Technology and Human Values, Politix, and the British Journal of Sociology. She is author of No Such Thing as a Free Gift (Verso, 2015) and The Unknowers (Zed, forthcoming, 2019). She is a founding editor, with Matthias Gross and Michael Smithson, of the Routledge Research in Ignorance Studies book series. 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. She has held visiting fellowships at the Brocher Foundation, the LSE and Sciences Po. She writes widely for a general audience, with articles in the Guardian, Jacobin, Fortune, the Spectator and 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 Guardian, the Globe and Mail, and Canada's CBC news.

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Social theories of knowledge and ignorance

Open to supervise

Economic sociology

Open to supervise

Global health governance

Open to supervise

Human rights-based approaches to health and development

Open to supervise

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Continuity and Controversy in Sociology: Sociological Analysis II (SC201)

  • Current Disputes in Sociology: Sociological Analysis III (SC301)

  • Power, Wealth and Poverty in a Global Age (SC389)

  • PhD Colloquium 1: Defining Your Research (SC800)

  • Dissertation (SC981)

Previous supervision

Boontawee Teamvan
Boontawee Teamvan
Thesis title: Struggling Against the Sea in Ban Khun Samut Chin: Environmental Knowledge, Community Identity and Livelihood Strategies in a Village Fighting Severe Coastal Erosion on the Gulf of Thailand
Degree subject: Sociology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 13/2/2017


Journal articles (23)

McGoey, L. and Thiel, DJ., (2018). Charismatic violence and the sanctification of the super-rich. Economy and Society. 47 (1), 111-134

McGoey, L., Thiel, D. and West, R., (2018). Le philanthrocapitalisme et les « crimes des dominants » [Philanthrocapitalism and crimes of the powerful]. Politix. 2018 (1), 29-54

Kelly, AH. and McGoey, L., (2018). Facts, power and global evidence: a new empire of truth. Economy and Society. 47 (1), 1-26

Mallard, G. and McGoey, L., (2018). Strategic ignorance and global governance: an ecumenical approach to epistemologies of global power. The British Journal of Sociology. 69 (4), 884-909

McGoey, L., (2018). Bataille and the Sociology of Abundance: Reassessing Gifts, Debt and Economic Excess. Theory, Culture and Society. 35 (4-5), 69-91

McGoey, L., (2017). The Elusive Rentier Rich: Piketty's Data Battles and the Power of Absent Evidence. Science, Technology, & Human Values. 42 (2), 257-279

Clark, J. and McGoey, L., (2016). The black box warning on philanthrocapitalism. The Lancet. 388 (10059), 2457-2459

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. The British Journal of Sociology. 63 (3), 533-576

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

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

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

McGoey, L., Reiss, J. and Wahlberg, A., (2011). The global health complex. BioSocieties. 6 (1), 1-9

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

McGoey, L. and Jackson, E., (2009). Seroxat and the suppression of clinical trial data: regulatory failure and the uses of legal ambiguity. Journal of Medical Ethics. 35 (2), 107-112

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

McGoey, L., (2009). Compounding Risks to Patients: Selective Disclosure is Not an Option. The American Journal of Bioethics. 9 (8), 35-36

Kendall, T., McGoey, L. and Jackson, E., (2009). If NICE was in the USA. The Lancet. 374 (9686), 272-273

Linsey McGoey, (2009). Sequestered Evidence and the Distortion of Clinical Practice Guidelines. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. 52 (2), 203-217

Kendall, T. and McGoey, L., (2007). Truth, Disclosure and the Influence of Industry on the Development of NICE Guidelines: An Interview with Tim Kendall. BioSocieties. 2 (1), 129-140

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

Wahlberg, A. and McGoey, L., (2007). An Elusive Evidence Base: The Construction and Governance of Randomized Controlled Trials. BioSocieties. 2 (1), 1-10

Mcgoey, L., (2007). Pharmaceutical Hope. Science as Culture. 16 (4), 489-492

Books (5)

McGoey, L., (2019). The Unknowers: How Strategic Ignorance Rules the World (Economic Controversies). Zed Books Ltd. 978-1780326351

McGoey, L., (2015). No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy. Verso Publication. 9781784780838

Gross, M. and McGoey, L., (2015). Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies. Routledge. 978-0-415-71896-7

McGoey, L., (2014). An introduction to the sociology of ignorance: essays on the limits of knowing. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 1-13-877967-9. 978-1-13-877967-9

Hunt, P., Bustreo, F., Gruskin, S., Eide, A., McGoey, L., Rao, S., Songane, F., Tarantola, D., Unnithan, M., Yamin, AE., van Bolhuis, A., Ferguson, L., Halliday, E., Kuruvilla, S., Popay, J. and Sander, G., (2013). Women's and Children's Health: Evidence of Impact of Human Rights. World Health Organization. 9789241505420

Book chapters (7)

McGoey, L., (2015). From accidental to ambitious sociology. In: Sociologists' Tales Contemporary narratives on sociological thought and practice. Editors: Twamley, K., Doidge, M. and Scott, A., . Policy Press. 9781447318675

McGoey, L., (2015). Vom Nutzen und Nachteil strategischen Nichtwissens. In: Vom Nutzen des Nichtwissens: Sozial- und kulturwissenschaftliche Perspektiven. Editors: Wehling, P., . transcript Verlag. 53- 74. 9783839426296

Thiel, D., (2015). Criminal Ignorance. In: Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies. Editors: Gross, M. and McGoey, L., . Routledge. 1- 14. 978-0-415-71896-7

Davies, W. and McGoey, L., (2014). Rationalities of ignorance: on financial crisis and the ambivalence of neo-liberal epistemology. In: An introduction to the sociology of ignorance: essays on the limits of knowing. Editors: McGoey, L., . Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 64- 83. 1-13-877967-9. 978-1-13-877967-9

McGoey, L., (2014). Strategic unknowns: towards a sociology of ignorance. In: An introduction to the sociology of ignorance: essays on the limits of knowing. Editors: McGoey, L., . Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 1- 16. 1-13-877967-9. 978-1-13-877967-9

McCoy, D. and McGoey, L., (2011). Global Health and the Gates Foundation - In Perspective. In: Partnerships and Foundations in Global Health Governance. Editors: Rushton, S. and Williams, OD., . Palgrave Macmillan. 9780230238763

McGoey, L., (2011). Police reinforcement: the anti-politics of organizational life. In: Reading Rancière: Critical Dissensus. Editors: Bowman, P. and Stamp, R., . Continuum. 9781441137814

Grants and funding


Evidence in interdisciplinary contextx: the value and ethics of randomised controlled trials

Economic & Social Research Council

+44 (0) 1206 873544


6.356, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Tuesday 12 to 2.00