Past events

View some of our recent events.

6 June 2019, 3pm to 5pm – PEC Seminar

Speaker: Prof Daniel Mügge (Universiteit van Amsterdam) - The Revenge of Political Arithmetick

Contemporary governance is thoroughly quantified, and in no policy field more so than economic policy. The numbers on which economic debates draw present themselves as objective, technocratic data, above the everyday tussle of politics. At the same time, governance by the numbers has increasingly come under fire in recent years. In the extreme, critics decry statistics as just another opinion or manipulation device. I argue that both excessive trust and scepticism are unjustified, and that both betray an ahistorical understanding of the macroeconomic statistics that surround us today. In response, this article offers a truncated history of central economic indicators, which measure inflation, unemployment, economic growth and international economic exchange. It shows how these metrics have been infused with political purpose, and hence bias, from the very start. This account builds on the abundant scholarship on the history of statistics, all the way back to William Petty’s Political Arithmetick in the 17th century. Modern day evidence-based policy and statistics-based research have forgotten – or consciously ignore – their roots in openly normative political projects. I therefore propose to see and study economic statistics as a form of political arithmetic 2.0. Cognisant of economic statistic historical baggage, we can the biases they may harbour and better put governance by numbers in its place.

Williamson G 0.33 

16 May 2019, 3pm to 5pm – PEC Book Launch

Dr Sara Killock presents ‘Livable Intersections: Reframing Sex Work at the Frontline'.

Within the context of heteronormativity, sex working experiences are defined by multiple and overlapping forms of marginalization. Social support services are widely thought to provide a crucial bulwark against such unlivable realities by empowering service users to manage (and even overcome) their oppressive circumstances.

Yet, such services are themselves often entangled with the social, cultural, and political processes that engender the disavowal of ‘sex’ as a form of ‘work’ and the attendant marginalization of sex workers. Bringing together insights from Judith Butler and intersectionality, Livable Intersections investigates the dynamics of frontline policy practice and in livability offers a new vision for designing, implementing, and valuing sex  worker support services.

Dr Adrienne Roberts and Dr Juanita Elias will serve as discussants.

Williamson G 0.33

6 March 2019 to 3 April 2019, 2pm to 3:30pm – Diversifying Economics

Lead organiser: Anna-Maria Köhnke (Fem4Econ)

Weekly mentoring sessions for female undergraduates interesting in pursuing careers in Economics. Mentors include Prof. Helen Beebee, Maeve Cohen, Dr. Alessia Isopi, Dr. Peter Backus and Elizabeth Wilkinson.

Co-financed by the Department of Economics.

23 January 2019, 6pm - PEC Book Launch

Dr. Sundari Anitha (Lincoln University) and Prof. Ruth Pearson (University of Leeds) present ‘Striking Women: Struggles and Strategies of South Asian Women Workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet”.

Striking Women gives a voice to the women involved as they discuss their lives, their work, and their trade unions. This book focuses on South Asian women’s contributions to the struggle for workers’ rights in the UK by examining two key industrial disputes which occurred in London some 30 years apart. The book offers an original intersectional account of the class and migrant position of the two workforces involve––both of South Asian origin––but with very different experiences of paid work and industrial organising. It situates the events of Grunwick (1976-8) and Gate Gourmet (2005) in the context of changes in industrial relations, immigration regulation, and also the changing nature of globalisation and corporate strategies in the face of accelerating globalisation. Unlike other accounts of these strikes, this book uses interviews with women who participated in the disputes––presenting the workers’ story, which is often at odds with the authorised versions of the unions’ stories.

Samuel Alexander Building, 101

7 December 2018, 1pm to 6pm - PEC Workshop

Lead Organisers: Dr. Caroline Metz

Critical pedagogy workshop: addressing race, gender and class in academic teaching.

This workshop will provide a forum to reflect on the design of teaching and alternative critical pedagogies regarding the ways in which race, gender and class structures permeate teaching. We want to think not only about 'what works' in the classroom, but also about what might or might not reproduce structural inequalities, discrimination and problematic (Western-centric, white, masculinist, middle class, etc.) representations.

6 December 2018, 6.15pm - PEC Annual Lecture

Speaker: Prof Wolfgang Streeck (Max Planck Institute, Cologne)

"Taking Back Control? Democratic Capitalism and the Architecture of the International State System."

Watch on YouTube

University Place, Lecture Theatre B

4 December 2018, 4pm – PEC Seminar

Speaker: Dr Nina Moeller

Biosocialism for the Amazon? Ikiam, the state and subsistence struggles in postneoliberal Ecuador

As the largest connected system of rainforests on Earth, the role of the Amazon in stabilising global ecological processes and mitigating climate chaos is widely seen as critical and its protection has taken on new urgency. Yielding crucial commodities, the Amazon region also represents, however, important state income. Governing the region efficiently and effectively is thus paramount to maintaining the income flow, while balancing contradictory environmental and cultural protection imperatives, the complexity of which is compounded by the notoriously difficult socio-ecological realities of the Amazon (remote, forested, resistant to modernisation). In this context, ‘postneoliberal’ Ecuador envisages a transition from extraction and export of oil and other sub-soil resources towards ‘biosocialism’ – a vision of an egalitarian and sustainable economy based above all on generating wealth from biodiversity. Explicitly conceived as a catalyst for this transition, the Regional Amazonian University Ikiam, a public higher education and scientific research institution founded in 2010, is an important aspect of the ostensibly postneoliberal development strategy of the Ecuadorian state. Yet ‘biosocialism’ has been criticised as an ideology which remains in key respects neoliberal, with many contradictions in both theory and practical implementation. Based on a critical ethnography approach, with a cultural political economy orientation, this paper explores the role of Ikiam University in Amazonian territorial development in Ecuador. Focusing on both biosocialism and Ikiam as fields of struggle, I highlight openings for alliances and transformative collaborations despite structural constraints. Moreover, by foregrounding the erosion of subsistence as ongoing process, I connect the expansion of the capitalist state in its current Ecuadorian form to the lived experience of indigenous peoples and their continuous struggles of the last five hundred years.

University Place, 4.207

19 November 2018, 4pm - PEC Seminar

Speaker: Prof John Dryzek (University of Canberra)

Arthur Lewis Building, G30


12 November 2018, 9am -1pm – Infrastructure Mega-Corridors workshop.

Participants: Nick Hildyard, Larry Lohmann, Prof. Penelope Harvey, and representatives of ReCommon and Counterbalance.

University Place, 3.209


7 November 2018, 5pm – PEC Film Screening of ‘Shaking the Money Tree: Experiments for a Fair Economy’.

Ten years after the financial crisis and the City is booming – but can you feel it from where you are?

Artists, financial innovators, and researchers will debate efforts to intervene in markets in order to make them work for everyone.

Film screening from artists Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn of the Hoe Street Central Bank, a grassroots print shop dedicated to exploding payday debt through alternative money creation, and discussion with researchers and activists in credit union and cooperative finance, past and present.

A Panel discussion will follow the screening which will include the filmmakers and academics.


  • Hilary Powell, Hoe Street Central Bank
  • Dan Edelstyn, Hoe Street Central Bank
  • Nick Money, Director of Development at the Centre for Community Finance Europe
  • Desiree Fields, Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Sheffield
  • Sarah Roddy, Senior Lecturer in Irish History, University of Manchester
  • Patrick Doyle, Hallsworth Research Fellow, University of Manchester 

International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 3 Cambridge Street, Manchester, M1 5BY


4 November 2018, 6pm – Is capitalism unsustainable?


  • Prof Molly Scott-Cato MEP (UK Green Party)
  • Prof Giorgos Kallis (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
  • Prof. Kevin Anderson (Tyndall Centre, The University of Manchester)
  • Prof Robert Pollin (Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts-Amherst)

The event will be chaired by Maeve Cohen (Rethinking Economics).

University Place, Lecture Theatre B.


27 September 2018, 4pm - PEC Seminar

Speaker: Prof Juha Heidenpåå (PALO)

"Without hope: Institutional virtues in environmental policy in Finland"

Arthur Lewis Building, G19, 4pm


ESRC Seminar: Climate Justice and Economic Growth at the Manchester Political Economy Centre

Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 January 2017

Venue: E2 Renold Building, University of Manchester

This workshop tackles a cluster of questions concerning economic growth and climate justice.

  • Is the prevention of climate catastrophe incompatible with economic growth?
  • Does climate justice within and across generations require moving beyond economic growth?
  • Or is economic growth, at least in developing countries, a requirement of climate justice?
  • How can meeting the basic needs of all in a global economy be ensured in a the context of climate change?
  • What role should physical and political feasibility constraints play in determining responses to climate change?   
  • Are economic instruments such as emissions trading compatible with climate justice?
  • Are there limits to the goods that are required for a good life?
  • Should there be the limits on the acquisition of wealth?

The workshop seeks to bring together economists, philosophers and practitioners to tackle these pressing questions.

Manchester Political Economy Centre Annual Lecture 2016

Michael Jacobs, Visiting Professor, School of Public Policy, UCL, Rethinking Capitalism

Wednesday, 26th October, 16.00-18.00, University Place 4.204

Western capitalism is in trouble. For decades investment has been falling, living standards have stagnated or declined, and inequality has risen dramatically. Economic policy has neither reformed the financial system nor restored stable growth; on the contrary, fiscal austerity has weakened it. Climate change meanwhile poses increasing risks to future prosperity.

In this talk, Michael Jacobs will propose new ways of thinking about capitalism. Drawing on his new book Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, edited with Mariana Mazzucato, he will argue that orthodox economic analysis, with its emphasis on markets and market failures, fails to understand properly how capitalism works, and why it often doesn't. He will examine the inadequacy of current economic orthodoxies, reflect on the intellectual resources provided by the economic traditions of Schumpeter, Polanyi and Keynes, and show how different approaches to policy could generate economies which are more innovative, inclusive and sustainable.

Michael Jacobs is Visiting Professor in the School of Public Policy at University College London and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research. An environmental economist and political theorist, his work has focused on the political economy of environmental change. From 2004-10 he was a Special Adviser to the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, responsible for domestic and international policy on environment, energy and climate change, and before that (2004-2007) a member of the Council of Economic Advisers at the UK Treasury. He has also been previously General Secretary of the Fabian Society, Co-Editor of the The Political Quarterly, and Senior Adviser to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, which he helped to found. His other books include The Green Economy: Environment, Sustainable Development and the Politics of the Future (Pluto Press, 1991).

Useful links

Political Economy Centre Annual Lecture 2015

Stephen Gill, York University, Toronto and Hallsworth Visiting Professor

Critical Global Political Economy in the 21st Century: Reflections on Global Organic Crisis

Professor Stephen Gill is a world leading scholar of global political economy, political and social theory, international relations and law and cultural studies.

His best known books are The Global Political Economy: Perspectives, Problems and Policies (with David Law, 1988); American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission(1991); Gramsci, Historical Materialism and International Relations (1993); Innovation and Transformation in International Studies (1997); and Power, Production and Social Reproduction: Human In/security in the Global Political Economy (with Isabella Bakker, 2004).

2014-15 Seminar Series

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and legitimacy in global health governance

  • Speaker: Sophie Harman (QMUL)
  • Date: 8 October 2014

Crisis in Spain: This time around…

  • Speaker: Greig Charnock
  • Date: 22 October 2014

Green violence: Rhino poaching and the war to save southern Africa’s peace parks

  • Speaker: Bram Buscher (ISS)
  • Date: 5 November 2014

When description becomes prescription: Capitalist diversity as a strategic problem for Korean social movements

  • Speaker: Jamie Doucette
  • Date: 26 November 2014

Beyond anti-austerity: The possibilities and limits of social movements in resistance to neoliberalism'

A round table event with movements@manchester.

  • Chair: Gemma Edwards
  • Date: 3 December 2014
  • Speakers: Marianne Maeckelbergh (Leiden), Nadim Mirshak (Manchester), Jamie Matthews (Manchester), Colin Barker (ex-MMU), Carl Death (Manchester). 

Financialisation of nature, urbanisation of the world: The sociospatial ramifications of the gold bubble in the Chilean Andes

  • Speaker: Martín Arboleda
  • Date: 28 January 2015

Complex indebtedness: An alternative ontology of world politics

  • Speaker: Meera Sarabatnam
  • Date: 11 February 2015

Gramsci and the study of post-Gramscian ideologies: Institutions, class, experience

  • Speaker: Gareth Price-Thomas
  • Date: 4 March 2015

Being anti-militarist and anti-militarist being

Joint seminar with the Poststructuralist and Critical Thought cluster.

  • Speaker: Chris Rossdale (RHUL)
  • Date: 18 March 2015

Crisis, new economic governance and legitimacy: Questioning the interrelations of economic and political crises in the Eurozone

Joint seminar with the Manchester Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (JMCE).

  • Speaker: Ingar Solty (York/Berlin)
  • Date: 15 April 2015

How to analyse institutions from a gendered perspective in IPE

Joint seminar with the School of Social Sciences Gender Research Network (GRN)

Speaker: Georgina Waylen

Date: 29 April 2015

Other events

Feminist political economy: Challenging mainstream economics

  • Speaker: Professor Bina Agarwal
  • Date: 1 April 2014

Professor Agarwal is Professor of Development Economics and Environment at The University of Manchester. She has been Director of the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi; President of the International Society for Ecological Economics; President of the International Association for Feminist Economics; and Vice President of the International Economics Association.

Her nine books include the award-winning A Field of One’s Own (Cambridge University Press) and Gender and Green Governance (Oxford University Press, OUP). She has written extensively on the political economy of gender; poverty, legal change; food security, environmental governance, and agriculture. A three-volume compendium of her selected papers entitled "Gender Challenges" is also forthcoming from OUP.  She holds honorary doctorates from ISS (The Hague), and the University of Antwerp. In 2008, she received a Padma Shri from the President of India, and in 2010 the Leontief Prize from Tufts University “for broadening the frontiers of economic thought”. She is currently working on issues of cooperation, inequality and food security. More details about Bina Agawal

Postcolonial theory and the spectre of capital

  • Speaker: Professor Vivek Chibber (New York University)
  • Date: 19 March 2014

A provocative intellectual assault on the Subalternists' foundational work. 
Postcolonial theory has become enormously influential as a framework for understanding the Global South. It is also a school of thought popular because of its rejection of the supposedly universalizing categories of the Enlightenment. In this devastating critique, mounted on behalf of the radical Enlightenment tradition, Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory. Focusing on the hugely popular Subaltern Studies project, Chibber shows that its foundational arguments are based on a series of analytical and historical misapprehensions. He demonstrates that it is possible to affirm a universalizing theory without succumbing to Eurocentrism or reductionism.

Postcolonial Theory and the Specter of Capital promises to be a historical milestone in contemporary social theory.

Social ecological economics

  • Speaker: Clive Spash
  • Date: 25 February 2014

An introduction to Marxist economics

  • Speaker: Ben Fine
  • Date: 4 February 2014

Inaugural Manchester lecture in global political economy

  • Date: 13 February 2014

Behind Marx’s ‘hidden abode’: Toward an expanded conception of capitalism

Speaker: Professor Nancy Fraser

Nancy Fraser is professor of philosophy and politics at the New School for Social Research in New York. An Einstein fellow at the John F Kennedy Institute of the Free University of Berlin, she also holds the chair in global justice at the Collège d'Etudes Mondiales, Paris. In winter 2014, she will be visiting professor of gender studies at Cambridge University. Her most recent book is Fortunes of Feminism: From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis (Verso, 2013).

Should and could Economics have predicted the financial crisis?

  • Speakers: Steve Kenn and Peter Backus
  • Date: 6 December 2013

Introduction to post-Keynesian economics

  • Speaker: Engelbert Stockhammer
  • Date: 14 November 2013

Introduction to Austrian economics

  • Speaker: Gerry Steel
  • Date: 3 December 2013

Global political economy research cluster: Work-in-progress seminars (Wednesdays, 3.30pm - 5pm)

23 October 2013, Adrienne Roberts (Manchester), What's Finance Got to Do With It?
Interrogating the Limits of Gender Equality though Financialization 15:30-17:00, Roscoe 1.003

6 November 2013, Juanita Elias (Warwick), Foreign Policy and the Domestic Worker: the Malaysia-Indonesia domestic worker dispute, Roscoe 1.003

13 November 2013, Japhy Wilson (Manchester), Fantasy Machine: Philanthrocapitalism as an Ideological Formation, Roscoe 1.003

20 November 2013, Sebastien Rioux (University of British Columbia), Capitalism and the Production of Uneven Bodies , Roscoe 2.10

27 November 2013, Carl Death (Manchester), The Green State in Africa, Roscoe 1.003

4 December 2013, Ian Bruff (Manchester), Critical Political Economy and Capitalist
Diversity: Critiquing the conceptual foundations of the dominant approaches, Roscoe 1.003

11 December 2013, All day workshop, Beyond Troubled Engagements? Feminist challenges to critical IPE (sponsored by the GPE Research Cluster, the Political Economy Centre at Manchester and BISA/IPEG) Time and Room TBC

22 January 2014, Prof Phil Cerny (Professor Emeritus of Politics and Global Affairs, University of Manchester and Rutgers University), The Paradox of Liberalism in a Globalising World, Room TBC

29 January 2014, Nicola Smith (Birmingham), Queer Sexual Economies in/and IPE (co-hosted with the Feminist Political Economy Network), Room TBC

5 March 2014, Prof Lucia Quaglia (York), The Politics of Transatlantic Regulatory Disputes in Finance Before and After the Global Financial Crisis (co-hosted with the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence), Room TBC

12 March 2014, Gabriel Siles-Brügge (Manchester), Trading Ourselves out of Recession, Room TBC

2 April 2014, Sophie Harman (Queen Mary University of London), The Bill and Melinda Gates Conundrum: Legitimacy in Global Governance, Room TBC

30 April 2014, Claes Belfrage (University of Liverpool Management School), Crashed Imagined Recoveries and the Fight back of Neoliberalism: The Icelandic Epic (or Tragedy), Room TBC

PEI and post-crash economics society lecture series

  • Ha-Joon Chang ‘Let a hundred flowers bloom and cross fertilise: Different schools of economics and how they can benefit from closer interactions’  Tuesday  1st October, Roscoe Theatre B, 5-7pm
  • Geoff Hodgson ‘Geoff Hodgson – ‘ Taking institutions seriously: an introduction to institutional economics’ Tuesday 22nd October, Roscoe Lecture Theatre, 6-8pm
  • Engelbert Stockhammer ‘Introduction to Post-Keynesian Economics’ Tuesday 14th November, Roscoe Lecture Theatre, 6-8pm
  • Gerry Steel ‘Introduction to Austrian Economics’ Tuesday 3rd December, Roscoe Lecture Lecture Theatre, 6-8pm

CSE Trans-Pennine working group meetings

More details about CSE Trans-Pennine