- Dr Nathan Coombs
- Lecturer in Economic Sociology, Sociology Senior Personal Tutor
- 6.10 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
- +44 (0)131 6508259
- Research Interests
- Sociological Theory, Financial Markets, Social Studies of Finance, financial regulation, History of Political Thought, Economic Sociology, Social theory
Guidance and Feedback Hours
- Wednesday 3-5pm (during term time)
I am an economic sociologist with a background in political and social theory. My doctoral research adressed (and sought to unwind) the conflict between evolutionary and revolutionary sciences of history. This project culminated in my first book, History and Event: From Marxism to Contemporary French Theory, published by Edinburgh University Press.
My current research agenda brings a science studies perspective to bear on financial governance, with a focus on how central banks seek to maintain their legitimacy and accountability. I will bring together this body of work in my second book, The Performance of Financial Stability, which examines the ideas, devices and narratives through which financial stability is performed on the regulatory stage.
At the University of Edinburgh I was the principal investigator on the Leverhulme Trust funded project 'Governing Financial Algorithms: A Social Study of Regulation and Compliance' (2014-17). In 2015 I co-founded the scholarly journal Finance and Society.
Course organiser and co-lecturer: Digital Markets and Society PGSP1146
Course organiser and co-lecturer: Economic Sociology: Theories and Enquiries
Course organiser (until Dec 2019): Sociology 1B: The Sociological Imagination: Private Troubles, Public Problems SCIL08005
PhD in Political Theory, Royal Holloway, University of London
MSc in International Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
BSc (hons) in Economics and International Development, University of Bath
(see full list of publications on Google Scholar)
Coombs, N. (2015) History and Event: From Marxism to Contemporary French Theory, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Coombs, N. (2020) What do stress tests test? Experimentation, demonstration and the sociotechnical performance of regulatory science, The British Journal of Sociology, 71(3): 520-536.
Coombs, N. and Frawley, A. (2019) The value in 'value': An exercise for pluralising economics instruction, International Review of Economics Education, 30: 1-11.
Coombs, N. (2016) What is an algorithm? Financial regulation in the era of high-frequency trading, Economy and Society, 45(2): 278-302. [featured in The Regulatory Review]
Coombs, N. (2016) Did Lenin refound Marxist dialectics in 1914?, The European Legacy, 21(1): 1-18.
Coombs, N. (2014) Speculative justice: Quentin Meilassoux and politics, Theory & Event, 17(4).
Coombs, N. (2011) The political theology of red Toryism, Journal of Political Ideologies, 16(1): 79-96.
Coombs, N. (2010) Nomological disputation: Alain Badiou and Graham Harman on objects, Speculations: A journal of speculative realism, 1(1): 135-144.
Coombs, N. (2020) Financial regulation. In: Borch, C. and Wosnitzer, R. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Critical Finance Studies, 137-153. Abingdon: Routledge.
Coombs, N. and van der Heide, A. (2020) Financialization as mathematization: The calculative and regulatory consequences of risk management. In: Mader, P., Mertens, D. and van der Zwan, N. (eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Financialization, 358-68. Abingdon: Routledge.
Coombs, N. (2016) Underlabouring for science: Althusser, Brassier, Bhaskar. In: Malik, S and Avanessian, A. (eds.) Genealogies of Speculation: Materialism and Subjectivity since Structuralism, 271-99. London: Bloomsbury.
Review articles and essays
Coombs, N. (2017) Macroprudential versus monetary blueprints for financial reform, Journal of Cultural Economy, 10(2): 207-216.
Coombs, N. (2016) What is an algorithm? Financial regulation in the HFT era, Automated Trader, Issue 41 Q4: 14-18.
Cameron, A., Coombs, N. and Samman, A. (2015) For a post-disciplinary study of finance and society, Finance and Society, 1(1): 1-5.
Donald Trump, Dodd-Frank and the politics of academic critique, SPERI comment, 29 February (2017)
Clamping down - on the Bank of England's stress test, Socializing Finance, 2 December (2016)
'Governing Financial Algorithms: A Social Study of Regulation and Compliance', Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship Scheme, 2014-17.
I am willing to anonymously review manuscripts in my areas of expertise. I have reviewed for Political Studies, The European Legacy, Journal of Political Ideologies, Security Dialogue, Science, Technology and Human Values, Science and Technology Studies, Information, Communication and Society, Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, and Oxford University Press.
I can act as a supervisor or in an informal mentoring role on projects concerning social and political theory, economic sociology, science and technology studies, and the social studies of finance.
If you are interested in being supervised by Nathan Coombs, please see the links below for more information: