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Book, The Market

Published by Agenda Publishing and Columbia University Press, January 2018

Back Cover Blurb: "We have become accustomed to economists and politicians talking about 'market forces' as if they are immutable laws of the universe. But what exactly is 'the market'? Originally an abstract idea from economic theory - the locus of demand and supply - it has come to inform the way we speak about our relationship to the economic system as a whole. Matthew Watson unpacks the concept to ask what does it really mean to allow ourselves to submit to market forces. And does economic theory really provide insights into the market institutions that shape our everyday life? In tackling these questions, the book provides a major contribution to a deeper appreciation of the dominant economic language of our time, challenging the idea that we can simply defer to the 'logic of the market'."


"A masterpiece of erudition and concision, Matthew Watson's new book lifts the lid on a concept whose ubiquity in public discourse is matched only by its slipperiness. With immense skill, Watson explores the ways in which the idea of 'the market' has developed within the field of economics and in so doing teases out the complex relationships between academic abstraction of the market concept and the prevalence of market ideology in politics. The result is a truly impressive book that should be regarded as a vital supplement to standard economics textbooks and essential reading for anyone interested in understanding whether there are alternatives to the 'iron cage' of the market." - Professor Ben Rosamond, University of Copenhagen

"Watson has provided a history of the economic ideas that form the basis of modern economics, brilliantly explaining where many of the economic laws and concepts central to the idea of the market originated ... there are very few texts on the market that are as good as this." - Dr Huw Macartney, University of Birmingham

Sun 27 Feb 2022, 13:20 | Tags: book, Agenda, The Market

Foreword to Robbie Shilliam's Race and the Undeserving Poor

Title: 'Foreword', in Robbie Shilliam (2018) Race and the Undeserving Poor: From Abolition to Brexit, Newcastle upon Tyne: Agenda Publishing.

Extract from text: The great merit to be found in Robbie Shilliam's book is just how clearly his voice comes across. He explores the lineage of repeated political attempts in Britain from the eighteenth century onwards to bracket off 'the deserving poor' from the broader category of 'the poor' in general. Some marker of difference must be called upon to distinguish those who do from those who do not merit political sympathy for their plight and state support to lessen their day-to-day grind of making ends meet. Shilliam shows that, often, the simple characteristic of what you look like was enough for a person of colour to be relegated from the deserving category. At other times, behaivoural traits became the means of differentiation, but assumptions relating to the propensity to display proscribed behaviour have been so frequently racialised that this symbol of exclusion has also been reduced to the issue of skin colour. Race and the Undeserving Poor demonstrates how practices of British working-class respectability have historically been inscribed with underlying images of whiteness.

Sun 08 Jul 2018, 15:56 | Tags: book chapter, Agenda, Columbia University Press