Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Contact Details

Dr Mark Davis

Associate Professor of Sociology

A sociologist of economic life, I am primarily interested in the relationships between money, markets and morality. In a world as deeply financialized as ours, in which every institution has been captured by the logic of economism, I argue that our best chance for progressive and meaningful social change is through doing different, more responsible things with our money. Having spent the last few years studying the UK’s Alternative Finance movement, I am currently writing a new book on Democratic Finance.

Research Interests

I was the Principal Investigator on the project Financial Innovation Today: Towards Economic Resilience (FITTER, 2015-2016) funded by Friends Provident Foundation. I have also worked as a consultant on social and economic issues with Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF, 2015) as well as leading policy think tanks in the UK, principally Finance Innovation Lab, Money Comms Lab, New Economics Foundation, and Positive Money. On the topic of shared social responsibilities in the context of the global financial crisis, I worked in Paris and Strasbourg as an expert advisor to the Council of Europe (2008-2011). Through my research, I have delivered keynote addresses in Australia and across Europe, and have appeared in two independent documentary films, The Trouble with Being Human These Days (2013) and Money: A Confused User’s Guide (2015).

I am the co-lead for the University’s ‘Financialization’ platform within the Cities research theme (2017-). I also continue as Founding Director of the Bauman Institute,  and between October 2013 and October 2015, I directed the University’s Building Sustainable Societies transformation programme of cross-disciplinary research activity.

I was recently PI on two externally-funded research projects:

FITTER – Financial Innovation Today: Towards Economic Resilience (2015-2016)

SLED – Social Impacts of Local Energy Developments (2013-2017)

Research Income

2015    Energy Systems Catapult Ltd

(Co-I) Alternative Finance Opportunity (with Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, CCAF), Value: £5280.00

2015    Friends Provident Foundation
(PI) Financial Innovation Today: Towards Economic Resilience (6 months), Value: £60,723.44

2014    Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd
(PI) Investment in fixed-term Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Community Resilience (24 months), Value: £105,000.00

2012    Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd
(PI) Investment in fixed-term Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Community Resilience (24 months), Value: £97,000.00     

Other Revenue

2010   University of Leeds Campaign Fund, Philanthropic Gift to the Bauman Institute, Value: £85,000.00

2010   Adam Mickiewicz Institute (IAM), Warsaw, Poland, Support for the Audio-Visual Archive, the Bauman Institute Collection, Value: £15,000.00


Postgraduate Courses
MA Social Life of Money (forthcoming)

Undergraduate Courses
Sociology of Consumerism (Level Three)

I also offer guest lectures across the curriculum in my areas of research interest, principally on Contemporary Social Thought (MA) and Sociology of Modern Societies (Level One).

PhD Supervision

I welcome opportunities to supervise doctoral projects in any area related to the above research activities. I am currently involved in supervising the following research projects:

  • The Anonymous Function: Assessing the historical, social, and political importance of anonymity and its function in a digital age, Robert Thornton-Lee (University of Leeds Research Scholarship, Start Date: September 2015)
  • Putting creativity to work in the British art school, 1962-1997, Benjamin Hirst (ESRC 1+3, Start Date: September 2014)
  • Towards a genealogy of sustainable consumption: its representation and problematisation in semiotic discourse, Mr. David Wingate (University of Leeds Research Scholarship, Start Date: September 2013)


  • What are the links between modernity and specific instances of colonial and postcolonial genocide in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa?, Jack Palmer (University of Leeds Research Scholarship, Submission Date: January 2017)
  • Permanently Temping? -  Learning, Earning and Precarity amongst young people in Yorkshire, Laura Cartwright (Frank Stell Award, Submission Date: October 2015)
  • Is there a space for ‘love’ within discussions of intimate citizenship?, Natasha Barnes (University of Leeds Teaching Scholarship, Submission Date: September 2015)

Genocide and modernity: A comparative study of Bosnia, Rwanda and the Holocaust, Jasna Balorda (University of Leeds Research Scholarship, Submission Date: October 

Key Publications


  • Davis ME, Liquid Sociology: Metaphor in Zygmunt Bauman's Writings on Modernity, ed. by Davis M (London: Routledge, 2013)

  • Bauman's Challenge: Sociological Issues for the Twenty-First Century, ed. by Davis ME and Tester K (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
    DOI: 10.1057/9780230290457

  • Davis ME, Freedom and Consumerism: A Critique of Zygmunt Bauman's sociology (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2008)
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/42777/

Journal articles

  • Davis ME, ‘Hurried Lives: Dialectics of Time and Technology in Liquid Modernity’, Thesis Eleven, 117.1 (2013), 7-18
    DOI: 10.1177/0725513613500268

  • Davis ME, ‘Bauman's Compass: Navigating the current interregnum’, Acta Sociologica, 54.2 (2011), 183-194
    DOI: 10.1177/0001699311402229


  • Davis ME, Financial Innovation Today: Towards Economic Resilience, (York/London: Friends Provident Foundation, 2016), 1-48

  • Davis ME, Shared social responsibility as a key-concept in managing the current interregnum, (Strasboug, France: Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing, 2011), 81-103

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