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Professor Bob Jessop
Sociology: Distinguished Professor & Founding Director, IAS
Degree: BA (Social Sciences), Exeter University MA Cambridge University Ph.D. Cambridge University Ph.D. Honoris Causa, Roskilde University
I am not currently teaching at undergraduate or master's level.
Together with Dr Ngai-Ling SUM (Politics), I organize a reading and discussion group on cultural political economy.
In 2009-2010, I am co-organizing the FASS Postgraduate Training Module on Gramsci
I studied sociology at Exeter University and then moved to the University of Cambridge to undertake doctoral research in political sociology. After completing a study of British political culture and writing a book on the sociological theory of reform and revolution, I became a Research Fellow in Social and Political Sciences at Downing College, Cambridge. It was during my five years as a Research Fellow that I first became interested in state theory. In 1975 I moved again to the Department of Government at the University of Essex and began teaching in the areas of political sociology, historical sociology, state theory, and political economy. After fifteen years of exile in a political science department I came to Lancaster University allegedly to profess sociology once again. In fact I'm still doing much the same as I did in political science, namely, attempting to be a theoretical jack-of-all-trades in the social sciences. In addition I have become more involved in funded empirical research intended to test my theoretical arguments.
I think my best work before coming to Lancaster -- some 20 years ago now (how time flies!) -- was concerned with state theory and am particularly proud of my book on the Greek Marxist theorist, Nicos Poulantzas, from whose work I still draw fresh inspiration both as an old intellectual debt and through regular re-reading of his work as a modern classic. This forms one of five large books that I have devoted to state theory over the last 25 years, starting with The Capitalist State (1982), passing through Nicos Poulantzas (1985), State Theory (1990), and The Future of the Capitalist State (2002), and culminating (for now) in State Power (2007) (see the publication list below). But I have also developed a serious interest in political economy (initially in issues such as Fordism and post-Fordism and now in the question of what a neo-Gramscian analysis of economies might tell us about contemporary changes in capitalism) and have, together with Dr Ngai-Ling Sum (Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University), been working since 2000 on 'cultural political economy' (see below). I have also continued my more empirical research into the political economies of postwar Britain (especially in relation to changes in the state and welfare regimes under the Thatcher, Major, and Blair governments) and have been testing ideas about cultural political economy in relation to the knowledge-based economy and in the framework of an EU-funded Framework 6 research project. in April 2010, I started a three-year ESRC Research Professorship on the cultural political economy of the 2007-2010 (and continuing ....) economic and political crises.
My recent research falls into five areas: (1) changes in contemporary capitalism and the dynamics of 'variegated capitalism' - a notion that I prefer to 'varieties of capitalism', including the illogics of globalization and the contradictions of knowledge-based economies; (2) changes in the state's form, scale, and functions in the broad fields of economic and social policy -- initially in relation to the welfare states of advanced capitalist economies and more recently also in some East Asian cases; (3) governance, governance failure, and meta-governance - and its failure -- and the implications of different forms of governance and meta-governance failure for 'pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will'; (4) cultural political economy, i.e., advancing the cultural turn in political economy by analysing the variation, selection, and retention of economic and political imaginaries and their implications for economic, political, and social transformation -- this involves work on the knowledge-based economy as well as more general theoretical issues; (5) the strategic-relational approach to issues of structure and agency -- framed within a more general concern with issues of complexity, complexity reduction, and critical r ealism. An emerging interest is the integration of the critique of political economy with a critical approach to political ecology. This is linked to my current research and the role of the Green New Deal as a potentially hegemonic economic imaginary.
The results of much of this work have been presented in three recent books: The Future of the Capitalist State (2002), Beyond the Regulation Approach (2006, co-authored with Dr Ngai-Ling Sum), and State Power: A Strategic-Relational Approach (2007). I am currently working on a second volume to accompany Beyond the Regulation Approach, which will be called Towards Cultural Political Economy and is scheduled for publication in due course with Edward Elgar.
In 2008, Icompletedthe writing up of my contributions to a European Union Framework 6 Project, DEMOLOGOS, on alternative models of socio-economic development. My role in this project was part theoretical (writing papers on the regulation approach; reproduction, regulation, and governance; class-, capital- and form-analytical approaches to political economy; agency, structures, institutions, and discourse; Gramsci as a regulation theorist; and periodization) and part-empirical, being partly responsible for research on the Pearl River Delta as a cross-border region (with Dr Ngai-Ling Sum).
Since 2008 I have continued my work on cultural political economy, knowledge-based economies, and state theory. A recent expression of the interest in cultural political economy is an ESRC Seminar Series on Changing Cultures of Competitiveness; another is an ambitious (even hubristic) attempt to develop a post-disciplinary analysis of contemporary capitalism by consolidating the cultural turn in political economy and using recent developments across a range of institutional orders and scales of organization to assess what is at stake in the widespread adoption of the knowledge-based economy as an accumulation strategy and state project. Based on these ideas and the work of the Cultural Political Economy Research Centre, I applied to the ESRC for a Research Professorship on the cultural political economy of crisis-management. This project began in April 2010 and continues for three years.
Finally, as an inveterate social and political theorist I am also maintaining a watching brief on developments in other areas of, especially, structure, agency and identity, autopoietic systems theory, time and space, and the analysis of the complex spatio-temporal dimensions of social relations. Some sense of how the different interests I have developed over the last four decades come together can be discerned from a diagrammatic periodization of my intellectual concerns - diagram
I enjoy teaching as well as research and try to convey some of my enthusiasm for critical and contrarian scholarship to my students. I see postgraduate studies as a partnership between research student and supervisor and expect the same commitment from my students that I try to give to them. Indeed much of my past and present work has been strongly influenced by the many happy hours spent in discussion with research students - more than a few of whom have become colleagues, co-authors, co-directors of research, and continuing sources of provocation and inspiration. I would welcome further such opportunities to engage in joint research in any of the five areas noted above.
My principal published original work in English comprises the following books (sole-authored unless otherwise indicated):
Major edited collections with substantial introductions include:
In addition, I have published around 160 book chapters and 75 refereedjournal articles on state theory, corporatism, the regulation approach, Fordism and post-Fordism, knowledge-based economies, intellectual property, British political economy, West German political economy, East Asian developmental states, social theory, critical realism, complexity theory, the strategic-relational approach, cultural political economy, and the welfare state. Many of my recent articles are available on-line from the Lancaster University e-prints service, which is regularly updated with new material. A complete list of my publications, including reprints and translations, will be posted here shortly, so watch this space!
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Potential Doctoral Proposals
I am particularly interested in receiving applications to work in the following fields:
Applicants should be aware that I will be retiring from a full-time academic position in 2013 and, while I will be able to supervise existing students to completion after that date, applicants for 2010-2011 onwards will need a co-supervisor from within the Faculty to ensure continuity of supervision. I am willing to assist applicants in the search for suitable co-supervisors.
Eprints Publications Repository and Bibliographic Database
Bob Jessop has 59 selected publication records listed on this webpage. Use links to access abstracts and full text where available. View all records to sort by date, type and title. For all ePrints records go to http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk
Jessop, Bob (2007) State Power:A Strategic-Relational Approach. Polity, Cambridge. ISBN 9780745633206
Jessop, RD and Sum, N-L (2006) Beyond the Regulation Approach: Putting Capitalist Economies in Their Place. Edward Elgar. ISBN 1845420373
Jessop, Bob and Fairclough, Norman and Wodak, Ruth (2008) The Knowledge-based Economy and Higher Education in Europe. Sense, London. ISBN 978-9087906221
Jessop, Bob (2006) From micro-powers to governmentality:Foucault's work on statehood, state formation, statecraft and state power. Political Geography, 26 (1). pp. 34-40. ISSN 0962-6298
Jessop, Bob (2004) Critical Semiotic Analysis and Cultural Political Economy. Critical Discourse Studies, 1 (2). pp. 159-174. ISSN 1740-5904
Jessop, Bob (2007) Knowledge as a fictitious commodity:insights and limits of a Polanyian perspective. In: Reading Karl Polanyi for the twenty-first century : market economy as political project. Palgrave, Basingstoke, pp. 115-134. ISBN 9781403983930
Jessop, Bob (2006) Spatial Fixes, Temporal Fixes and Spatio- Temporal Fixes. In: David Harvey : A Critical Reader. Antipode Book Series . Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, pp. 142-166. ISBN 0631235108
Jessop, Bob (2009) Avoiding traps, rescaling states, governing Europe. In: Leviathan undone? towards a political economy of scale. University of British Columbia Press (UBC Press), Vancouver/Toronto, pp. 87-104. ISBN 9780774816304
Jessop, Bob and Oosterlynck, Stijn (2008) Cultural political economy : on making the cultural turn without falling into soft economic sociology. Geoforum, 39 (3). pp. 1155-1169. ISSN 0016-7185
Jessop, Bob and Brenner, Neil and Jones, Martin (2008) Theorizing Socio-Spatial Relations. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26 (3). pp. 389-401. ISSN 0263-7758
Other Interests and Hobbies
My principal interest is my scholarship and I enjoy keeping up as far as possible with old interests as well as developing new ones. My principal hobby, if that is the correct word for something so strenuous, is cycling. Until recently I was an active competitor in time-trialling - I still hold the men's 100-mile club record for Lancaster Cycling Club, a record that I broke twice, most recently aged 54. To celebrate my 60th birthday, I repeated a ride with club-mates first undertaken to celebrate my 50th birthday, namely the 900-mile plus journey from Lands End to John O'Groats, which takes riders from the southwestern tip of England to the northwestern edge of Scotland. This time I did it to raise money for cancer charities and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.
Associated Keywords: Autopoiesis, Biotechnology, Capitalism, Cities, Citizenship, Civil society, Class and gender relations, Class politics, Competitiveness, Complexity, Conjunctural analysis, Consumption, Contradiction, Creative industries, Critical discourse analysis, Critical realism, Cultural economy, Cultural Political Economy, Democracy, Developmental state, Dilemma, Discourse analysis, Engels, Enterprise, Epistemology, Europeanisation, European Union, Exportism, Fordism, Form Analysis, Foucault, Global governance, Globalisation, Governance, Gramsci, Historiography, Imperialism, Information society, Innovation, Intellectual property rights, Interdisciplinary collaboration, International political economy, Intersectionality, Knowledge, Labour market policy, Marxian analysis, Materiality, Meta-governance, Methodology, Nation, Neo-Marxism, Ontics, Ontology, Periodisation, Philosophy of social science, Political culture , Political economy, Political ontology, Political theory, Post-Fordism, Post-structuralism, Poulantzas, Power, Regulation Approach, Science and technology, Semiotics, Shadow state, Social policy, Social theory, Societalisation, Spatiality, State failure, State theory, Strategic-relational approach , Strategy, Structural Coupling, Structure and agency, Supranational governance, Systems theory, Technology, Terrorism, Transnationalisation, Urban studies, Vergesellschaftung, Welfare
View all research activities, ePrints, news and events associated with Bob Jessop.
Tel: +44 (0)1524 592295
Room: Bowland North, B102
Office Hour: Appointments can be made by e-mail
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