Dr Liz McFall | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
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Dr Liz McFall

Liz McFall

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am Senior Lecturer in Sociology.

Research interests

I am chair of DD218, a new sociology module, provisionally entitled Understanding Digital Societies. I am also research lead of the Digital Participation stream of the University’s new Strategic Research Area in Citizenship and Governance. The stream explores how ‘the digital’ acts as a placeholder for a variety of technological changes that are also signalled by terms like ‘big data’, internet of things, the cloud and smart cities. The stream aims to support and reinforce research about how – and whether - these changes are reshaping what participation means in social, political, cultural, organisational and economic terms.

My research is about how consumer markets are made, especially for dull, difficult or challenging products like life and health insurance and doorstep and payday loans. I was PI of the Wellcome Trust Seed Award (No. WT108386AIA) Insuring healthcare in a Digital World. This award was part of an ongoing project exploring how the convergences surrounding digital disruption and the current global wave of health care funding reforms are forging new roles for states, markets and marketing. Similar issues were explored from a historical perspective in my 2014 book Devising Consumption: cultural economies of insurance, credit and spending. Here, the connections between insurance, credit, spending and public welfare are showcased as part of an argument that the dynamic, adaptive techniques used to devise, market and sustain the consumption of dull products might usefully inform the design of public provision.

The interdisciplinary character of this research project is also evident in the Journal of Cultural Economy (See our editorial website here). I am Editor-in-Chief of the Journal with responsibility for developing its external profile. Since publishing its first issue in 2008 the JCE has become the primary interdisciplinary forum for work that explores the relations between culture, economies, markets, societies, states and organisations. In 2016 it was selected for inclusion in Thomson Reuter’s Social Sciences Citation Index and celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2017.  

I was Head of Sociology between 2012-2016 and director of CCIG’s Digital Citizens Research Programme between 2014-2016. I was a founding member of the ESRC major funded Centre for Research into Social and Cultural Change (CRESC) (2004-2013) and co-founder of the CHARISMA Consumer Market Studies research network.

I am co-editor, with Franck Cochoy and Joe Deville of Markets and the Arts of Attachment (Routledge, 2017), co-editor with Paul du Gay and Simon Carter of Conduct: sociology and social worlds (Manchester University Press, 2008) and author of Advertising: a cultural economy (Sage, 2004).

Student supervision

I am currently supervising a number of PhD projects including Jane Wilson’s ‘UK arts policy: a suitable site for investigating the social life of methods?’, Olivia Gable’s examination of a publicly funded grants programme for popular musicians based in England, and the international visiting student Matanje Raschke’s work on life coaches as cultural intermediaries.

Nobumi Kobayashi’s ‘The Social Significance of Brands completed 2016.

Andras Novosath’s 'Paying to be Good: The Bristol Pound and its other method assemblages' completed  2016

I welcome applications in any area connected with the sociology and history of markets, insurance, digital health and their connections to other areas of social and public life.

Teaching interests

Chair of DD218, a new sociology module, from 2017

Member of The uses of social science (DD206) module production team 2010-2012.
Chair of Making social worlds (DD308) production and presentation team 2006-2012.

Chair/Member of D318 Culture, Media and Identities presentation and remake team 2001-2006

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences
Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences


On brutal culture (2017-10-26)
Umney, Darren; Nelms, Taylor C.; O'Brien, Dave; Muniesa, Fabian; Moor, Liz; McFall, Liz; Cooper, Melinda and Campbell, Peter
Journal of Cultural Economy, 10(6) (pp. 556-568)
Ten years after: it’s the economy and culture, stupid! (2017-01-09)
Cooper, Melinda and McFall, Liz
Journal of Cultural Economy, 10(1) (pp. 1-7)
A ‘good, average man’: calculation and the limits of statistics in enrolling insurance customers (2011-11)
McFall, Liz
Sociological Review, 59(4) (pp. 661-684)
The practical heart of markets (2011)
McFall, Liz
Journal of Australian Political Economy, 68 (pp. 149-168)
Pragmatics and politics: the case of industrial assurance in the UK (2010-07)
McFall, Liz
Journal of Cultural Economy, 3(2) (pp. 205-224)
Performativity, economics and politics: an overview (2010)
Cochoy, Franck; Giradeau, Martin and McFall, Liz
Journal of Cultural Economy, 3(2) (pp. 139-146)
Devices and Desires: How useful is the 'new' new economic sociology for understanding market attachment (2009-03)
McFall, Liz
Sociology Compass, 3(2) (pp. 267-282)
The agencement of industrial branch life assurance (2009-03)
McFall, Liz
Journal of Cultural Economy, 2(1 - 2) (pp. 49-65)
Fabricating the market: The promotion of life assurance in the long nineteenth-century (2009-03)
McFall, Liz and Dodsworth, Francis
Journal of Historical Sociology, 22(1) (pp. 30-54)
The disinterested self: the idealized subject of life assurance (2007-07)
McFall, Liz
Cultural Studies, 21(4-5) (pp. 591-609)
The language of the walls: putting promotional saturation in historical context (2004-06)
McFall, Liz
Consumption, Markets and Culture, 7(2) (pp. 107-128)
What about the old cultural intermediaries? An historical review of advertising producers (2002-07-01)
McFall, Liz
Cultural Studies, 16(4) (pp. 532-552)
Devising Consumption: Cultural Economies of Insurance, Credit and Spending (2014-09-11)
McFall, Liz
ISBN : 978-0-415-69439-1 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Advertising: A cultural economy (2004-01)
McFall, Liz
Culture, Representation, and Identities
ISBN : 0 761942 54 8 | Publisher : Sage Publications | Published : UK
The Market will Have you: The Arts of Market Attachment in a Digital Economy (2017-05-18)
McFall, Liz and Deville, Joe
In: Cochoy, Franck; Deville, Joe and McFall, Liz eds. Markets and the Arts of Attachment. CRESC: Culture, Economy and the Social
ISBN : 9781138904293 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Introduction: Markets and the Arts of Attachment (2017-05-18)
McFall, Liz; Cochoy, Franck and Deville, Joe
In: Cochoy, Franck; Deville, Joe and McFall, Liz eds. Markets and the Arts of Attachment. CRESC: Culture, Economy and the Social
ISBN : 9781138904293 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
What’s in a name? Provident, The People’s Bank and the regulation of brand identity (2016-09-14)
McFall, Liz
In: Ertürk, Ismail and Gabor, Daniela eds. The Routledge Companion to Banking Regulation and Reform. Routledge Companions (55 -73)
ISBN : 9780415855938 | Publisher : Routledge
What’s new in the ‘new, new economic sociology’ and should Organisation Studies care? (2014-10-16)
McFall, Liz and Ossandón, José
In: Adler, Paul; Du Gay, Paul; Morgan, Glen and Reed, Mike eds. Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory and Organization Studies: Contemporary Currents (pp. 510-533)
ISBN : 978-0-19-967108-3 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford
What have market devices got to do with public policy? For regulation, market devices and policy instruments collection (2014)
McFall, Liz
In: Halpern, Charlotte; Lascoumes, Pierre and Le Galès, Patrick eds. L'Instrumentation de l'Action Publique: Controverses, Résistances, Effets (pp. 119-142)
ISBN : 9782724614565 | Publisher : Les Presses de Sciences Po | Published : Paris
The problem of cultural intermediaries in the economy of qualities (2014)
McFall, Liz
In: Smith Maguire, Jennifer and Matthews, Julian eds. The Cultural Intermediaries Reader (pp. 42-51)
ISBN : 1446201333 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
Un « bon gars »: l’importance des liens sociaux et des sociabilités dans la promotion de l’assurance-vie (2012-11-09)
McFall, Liz
In: Cochoy, Franck ed. Du Lien Marchand comment le marché fait société. Socio-logiques
ISBN : 978-2-8107-0205-3 | Publisher : Presses Universitiares du Mirail | Published : Toulouse
'The rules of prudence': political liberalism and life assurance in the nineteenth century (2010)
McFall, Liz
In: Clark, Geoffrey; Anderson, Gregory; Thomann, Christian and Graf von der Schulenberg, J.-Mathhias eds. The Appeal of Insurance (pp. 127-151)
ISBN : 9781442640658 | Publisher : University of Toronto Press | Published : Toronto
Advertising: structure, agency or agencement? (2010)
McFall, Liz
In: Deuze, Mark ed. Managing Media Work (pp. 191-198)
ISBN : 9781412971249 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
Your money or your life: Making people prudent (2008)
McFall, Liz
In: McFall, Liz; Du Gay, Paul and Carter, Simon eds. Conduct: Sociology and social worlds (pp. 55-86)
ISBN : 9780719078132 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester, UK
Which half?: Accounting for ideology in advertising (2007-05)
McFall, Liz
In: Saren, Michael; Maclaran, Pauline; Goulding, Christina; Elliott, Richard; Shankar, Avi and Caterall, Miriam eds. Critical Marketing: Defining the field (pp. 125-138)
ISBN : 978-0-7506-8066-0 | Publisher : Butterworth Heinemann/Elsevier | Published : Oxford
The culturalisation of work in the new economy (2005-01-01)
McFall, Liz
In: Westenholz, Ann and Jensen, Torben eds. Identity In The Age Of The New Economy: Life In Temporary And Scattered Work Practices
ISBN : 1 843766 39 6 | Publisher : Edward Elgar Publishing
Markets and the Arts of Attachment (2017-05-18)
Cochoy, Franck; Deville, Joe and McFall, Liz eds.
CRESC: Culture, Economy and the Social
ISBN : 9781138904293 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Conduct: Sociology and social worlds (2008)
McFall, Liz; Du Gay, Paul and Carter, Simon eds.
ISBN : 9780719078132 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester, UK

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