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Research


I joined the PaIS department in 2007 in order to start my MA in "International Politics and Europe". I completed my BA in Politics at the University of Louvain, Belgium, where the seeds of my current research interests began to prosper.


“The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of every day thinking. It is for this reason that the critical thinking of the physicist cannot possibly be restricted to the examination of concepts of his own specific field. He cannot proceed without considering critically a much more difficult problem, the problem of analyzing the nature of everyday thinking." [Einstein, A. (1936) Physics & Reality. Reprinted in A. Einstein (1950) Out of my later years. New York: Philosophical Library. p.59]


Intellectual Development over the Years

To understand my approach to research, it is useful to know that I have developed a relatively strong interest in sociology in my undergraduates years, which was facilitated by the fact that I had to choose some courses of this discipline. Moreover, as the programme was meant to cover a broad range of topics, among which one was what is formally called politics, I received a far less targeted education then may be the case in the UK. It is just at Warwick that I was properly introduced to the disciplines that I am working now on (IPE), but my sense of analysing the underlying political agendas of social phenomena has not proved to be harmful in approaching the topics that I was faced with in PaIS. In the MA then, I was particularly appealed to the study of International Political Economy (IPE), for its dual focus on theory and contemporary development of society. Doing IPE the British way matches well with my academic thoughts of how to conduct research into socio-economic themes. This personal journey explains why I am doing a PhD in IPE, how I approach this sort of academic field of studies and why, I think, PaIS is the right place to explore my interests.

"The starting-point of critical elaboration is the consciousness of what one really is, and is knowing "thyself" as a product of the historical process which has deposited in you an infinity of traces, without leaving an inventory" [Gramsci, A. (2005/1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks. London : Lawrence & Wishart. p.324.]


General Themes of Thesis

Following this "society-first"-reading of social, political and economic phenomena, I investigate modern forms of capitalism as holistic entities in the sense that economic activity is considered to be social action, ie is embedded into a community that coordinates its collective output in a collective manner. My research focuses on the economies/societies of the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany as the VoC (Varieties of Capitalism) literature portrays them as dissimilar cases of capitalistic productive organisation. The central idea is to analyse the consumption side of these regimes and see in how far parallelisms can be established. This research topic follows from my particular reading that pushes me to see production and consumption as social activities inside one social environment, characterised by certain institutions. My notion of institutions is thus rather historical and socially constructed. The analysis however goes beyond the macro-level by looking at everyday consumption practices in both countries, more specifically as far as housing and mortgage markets go. I am hence interested in the interplay between agential behaviour and the existing institutions that are shaping it. By the latter, I mean the structrural setup of states, or what is often called "polities". The argument goes that as the state has a certain degree of influence over the subjectivities of everyday people, different institutional setups will match different approaches to the economci subject and different policies.

"Rather than extending economic axioms beyond the economy, as done by the rational choice model, economic sociology or sociological economics (including institutional economics) sheds light on the economy by analytically situating and embedding it in society." [Zafirovski, M. (2000) 'Extending the rational choice model from the economy to society', Economy and Society, 29:2, p. 186]


Broader Research Interests

International Political Economy, Varieties of Capitalism, (Discursive) Institutionalism(s), Consumption and Everyday Life, Politics of State Activity, Growth Theories, Economic Sociology, Sociology/Philosophy of Science


"An agentic perspective fosters lines of research that provide new insights into the social construction of the functional structure of the human brain." [Bandura, A. (2001) 'Social Cognitive Theory: An Agentic Perspective', Annual Review of Psychology, 52:1, p. 4.]


Funding


  • Warwick Postgraduate Research Scholarship (WPRS; now called 'Chancellor's Scholarship')
  • FNR (Fond National de la Recherche Luxembourg; TR-PHD BFR08-053)

"There is nothing in philosophy which could not be said in everyday language." (Henri Bergson)

Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.(Napoleon Hill) 


By means of productive activity, man transforms his environment and, in the process, himself.(Karl Marx)


Ignoranti, quem portum petat, nullus suus ventus est - For those who don't know which port they are headed to, no wind is favorable.(Seneca)