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Ben Jacoby


Title of thesis:

A Constructvist Account of Varieties of Capitalism: State Interventions into Naive Theories of British and German Home Ownership and Mortgage Markets.


The current literature on forms of capitalist organisation is unsatisfactory for its structuralist view on economic regimes that puts the firm into its exclusive focus. Moreover, the exclusion of the individual and the state renders this model of explanation a-political. Against this perspective, this project develops a framework that is able to account for agency, hence bringing the individual and the state back into the analysis. Such a move not only looks at individual-state relationships in different institutional settings, it also points at the deeply political features of capitalist societies. The key to doing so is an extension of the classical notion of rationality to include the social and moral context in which economic behaviour takes place. This opens the potentiality of state faciliation as far as economic subjectivities go. The central element under investigation is constituted by everyday conceptions of economic processes, and appropriate private behaviour herein. The case studies then outline the specific state policy processes playing out in the UK and German economies as they represent the two ideal-types of institutional arrangements. In each case, state intervention into the housing and the mortgage markets are analysed by falling back upon official discourse and statements. Because of the differential interaction patterns between the state and the individual, policies and their legitimation strongly vary. The UK follows a normative-strategic scheme that targets economic agency directly, whereas in Germany prudential macro outcomes are the major concerns driving the policy agenda. The topics are chosen as both the housing and the mortgage market display very different general features in both of the economies investigated, and as they directly rely upon moral understandings of economic behaviour by everyday individuals. Through the disclosure of inherent contradictions in both state approaches, the political character is brought out. Finally, links are drawn to the initially reviewed literature with the concept of micro-macro complementarities being developed.

Responsibilities and Roles

  • In the academic year 2011/2012, I gave 2 weekly seminars for the "Introduction to Politics" module (Dr. John Parkinson).
  • In 2011, I was in charge of the website of the newly created IPE Cluster, a discussion forum for IPE scholars in the department that brings staff and PhD students together.
  • In 2010/2011, I was figuring as chair of the Politics PhD SSLC.
  • You may also like to listen to a podcast I recorded with the Warwick Knowledge Centre, May 2011.
  • In the academic year 2009/2010, I gave 2 weekly seminars for the "Introduction to Politics" module (Prof. Ben Rosamond)
  • In 2009, I was co-convening CRIPS together with Chris Clarke and Douglas Bamford


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Ben Jacoby


The University of Warwick

Politics and International Studies (PaIS)


B dot M dot Jacoby at warwick dot ac dot uklogo


check out my piece in the WARWICK KNOWLEDGE CENTRE