Students Staff

Our Centre

Our Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) highlights transformation processes of socio-economies, both contemporary and historical.

We are interdisciplinary, global and comparative in scope, addressing 'big' issues facing the world today.

What we do

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 areas

    We draw together strengths from our Department of Sociology in a number of areas, including:

    • climate change
    • the finitude of earht's resources (land, water, energy)
    • systems of provision and consumption
    • economic and social rights
    • cultural economy
    • welfare regimes and pensions
    • slavery and forced labour, historical and contemporary
    • food and consumption
    • the pharmaceutical industry
    • work and employment
    • internet economies, formal and informal
    • gender budgeting and fiscal sociology
    • biotechnology and bioeconomy
    • economies of knowledge
    • waste and recycling.

    Collaborative research within the Department of Sociology is strongly supported, as is interdisciplinary research with our researchers and staff in other parts of the University. We have close links the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), Essex Business School and Health and Human Sciences.

  • Our theoretical approaches

    A number of economic sociology approaches are strongly represented within the Centre. These include:

    • network theory
    • fiscal sociology
    • political economy
    • political ecology
    • economic and social rights theory
    • neo-Polanyian approaches
    • sociology of consumption
    • economic history
    • cultural economy and history.

    We aim to stimulate dialogue between these approaches, and with closely related intellectual traditions such as innovation studies, evolutionary economics, the new geography, feminist economics, institutional economics, management and accountancy.


11 October 2016: Professor Mark Harvey publishes an article in Discover Society: "Food and the sociogenesis of climate change

8 June 2016: Researching the Chinese food-energy-climate change trilemma

12 November 2015: No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy (Talk at Hudson Institute)

11 November 2015: No Such Thing as a Free Gift (Talk at New York book launch, The New School)

6 November 2015: The Rise of Philanthro-Capitalism: How Charity became Big Business (Talk at Toronto Public Library)

24 October 2015: No Such Thing As a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy by Linsey McGoey – review (The Guardian)

14 October 2015: Essex sociologist has new book published

6 July 2015: The shifting place of the economy in nature


We hold a regular series of seminars and workshops to develop our research culture. These create a space for discussion of ongoing research, and allow you to test out research ideas in a friendly and supportive environment.

  • Events in 2017/18

    7 December 2017: Maitrayee Deka presents 'Bazaar economy as an alternative information economy in India

    15 February 2018: A talk by Liz McFall

    15 March 2018: A talk by David Evans

    1 March 2018: A talk by Shoba Arun on Gender Capital, and development in South India

    21 March 2018: Joint seminar with History discussing Mark Harvey's new book

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.

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. 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 magnet both for existing PhD students currently supervised by staff in the Department of Sociology, and for attracting new students. The series of seminars and workshops will 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.

Contact us

For general enquiries regarding all aspects of CRESI, and for all non-promotionally related requests, contact Dr Linsey McGoey (Director) at, or Dr Katy Wheeler (Deputy Director) at

Join our mailing list

Keep up-to-date with what's going on in the Centre by signing up to our announce mailing list and discuss mailing list.