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Matthew Watson

mat watson
Professor of Political Economy
ESRC Professorial Fellow (2013-2019)
REF Lead and Deputy Head of Department (Research)

Room: D1.06, Social Science Building




As of the start of Term 3, campus is still only open for business critical activities in the social sciences, and this will remain the case until new Government advice decrees otherwise. As a consequence, my Advice and Feedback Hours for Weeks 1-5 in Term 3 will continue to have to be conducted online via Teams. I want to stick as closely as possible to my normal term-time Advice and Feedback Hours of Monday 09.00-10.00 and Monday 17.30-18.30. Please contact me if you want to book a meeting and I will send you a Teams invitation.

Unfortunately, the tab on this page entitled 'Advice and Feedback Booking Form' is not fully operational. Please therefore ignore it and instead email me for a slot in my Advice and Feedback Hours.



I remain keen to recruit further PhD students to link to my Professorial Fellowship project, 'Rethinking the Market'. Please click here for details of my existing project team and to learn more about the exciting research that they are undertaking. However, please do only ask me about PhD supervision if there is a genuine overlap between your research interests and my published work.



My project website also contains information about all of the academic presentations I have delivered since October 2013. Many are accompanied either by a recording of the presentation or a copy of the paper to which I was speaking. Please click here to access the relevant page. Please click here to see all the places that I have been lucky enough to have been invited to speak since the start of my Fellowship.



Access my SPERI Comment blog post page.


More about my...

Selected publications


I am Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics and International Studies. I am Departmental REF Lead and also Deputy Head of Department for Research. I came to Warwick in January 2007 from the University of Birmingham, where I had been a full-time member of academic staff since October 1999, and where before that I had studied for my PhD. From October 2013 to February 2019 I was an Economic and Social Research Council Professorial Fellow engaged on the project, 'Rethinking the Market'. Its stand-alone website contains details of all of my project-related activities. The funding on the grant might now have elapsed, but the ideas on which the project was founded certainly live on. Indeed, they have now expanded in so many different directions that I could feasibly be exploring them for the whole of the rest of my career.


Research Interests

My research interests are concentrated at the intersection of the broad areas of political economy and the history of thought. I have a particular concern for trying to understand politically that most ubiquitous of modern economic institutions, 'the market'. What does it mean to live life as a market-bound economic agent; how has that agency been culturally inscribed in modern history; and what plausible political means are there to escape its behavioural logics? My overall programme of research is designed to allow me to understand the multiple ways in which the market economy becomes embedded in everyday experience: as a set of institutions designed to naturalise behaviour; as an ideological blueprint for the common sense of society; as formal practices manifesting routinely reproduced exchange relations; as evolving ideas incorporated into the history of economic thought; as reflections in popular culture; and as something to organise political resistance against. Every piece that appears on my research CV speaks directly to one aspect or more of this broader programme. It also reflects the key to understanding what unites the individual elements of my public engagement and impact work.


PhD Supervision and Postdoc Mentoring

I have supervised thirty-five PhD students to completion, all successfully, with a further four currently under supervision. All of them have worked or are working in the broad areas of political economy and/or the history of thought, and they have research interests which intersect my own in important ways. I will always respond to approaches about possible supervision from students whose proposed topics do genuinely overlap with where my own expertise lies. However, I must receive on average at least two approaches per week from students who are just taking a punt and whose research interests are nowhere near mine, so please only contact me if a genuine case can be made that I have the relevant research experience to add value to your project. It really would not be good for you to persuade anyone to supervise your PhD if they do not have the relevant expertise.

For the last twelve years I have either been responsible for running or a frequent contributor to the Professional Socialisation Series organised for the Department's PhD students by the CRIPS Committee. The series is designed to give our PhD students insights into what to expect from the profession if they are targeting an academic career and how to put themselves in the best possible position to realise those ambitions. Many of the sessions have been recorded and are available on my podcast page.

I have also had responsibility during my career for mentoring sixteen Postdoctoral Fellows. All of these people are either still on the Early Career Researcher programme at Warwick or have moved successfully into a permament lectureship or a job of their choice outside of academia. Please contact me if your research interests are similar to mine and you wish to apply for postdoc funding via Warwick, although I should point out that funders will only seriously entertain providing money for postdoctoral fellowships if there is a genuine complement between the research interests of applicant and proposed mentor. The Department has a dedicated webpage to explain to interested candidates the process for applying to each of the major external funders of stand-alone postdoctoral fellowships, and it is certainly best to familiarise yourself with the content of this page before contacting me.



The MarketUneconomic Economics and the Crisis of the Model WorldFoundations of International Political Economy