Professor Mark Davis

Professor Mark Davis


A graduate of Newcastle University, I completed both my Masters and my PhD in the School at Leeds.

In 2010, I conceived, founded and then directed (until 2020) The Bauman Institute international research centre at the University of Leeds. I now hold the honorary position of ‘Founding Director’. My published work continues to shape the global study of Zygmunt Bauman’s sociology and I am currently senior editor of a new three-volume book series of his selected writings (with Polity).

In economic sociology, I apply my underpinning expertise in sociological theory to grand challenge questions of economy and environment. My work applies a social relations of money and finance perspective to energy research in the context of securing just and inclusive transitions to decarbonised societies. As PI and Co-I on a series of externally-funded research projects (details below), my work has opened up new interdisciplinary collaborations in the study of alternative finance and social innovation – specifically crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending – for net zero economies, as captured in my latest book Crowdfunding and the Democratization of Finance (2021, Bristol University Press). You can watch the official launch event for the book below.

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I have held a number of senior academic leadership roles at Leeds. Beyond the Bauman Institute, I was Director of Building Sustainable Societies (2013-2016), a large strategic initiative to foster greater social science collaboration across campus, securing £10.7 million of external research investment; I co-authored the University’s previous ‘Social Sciences Strategy, 2015-2021’ document, setting research priorities and targets; I have been a member of Faculty Research and Innovation Committee (2014-2017) and LSSI’s Steering Group (2014-2017); and, within the School, I have been both Admissions Tutor (2015-2018) and Programme Manager for the original format of the School’s MA Social and Political Thought (2010-2016). More recently, I was one of the School’s REF2021 Impact Case Study authors.

Away from campus, I am a member of the Editorial Board for the British Sociological Association’s flagship journal, Sociology, and a member of the BSA’s Climate Change, Theory, and Work, Employment and Economic Life study groups. I am an expert evaluator of grant applications submitted to the EC’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and to Friends Provident Foundation’s ‘Fair Economy’ programme. Previously, I worked intermittently in Paris and Strasbourg as an expert advisor to the Council of Europe (2008-2011) and was external examiner for three MA programmes at the Brussels School of International Studies (2018-2021).

Committed to public sociology, I enjoy communicating my research via podcasts (Another Europe and The Measure of Everyday Life) and radio (Why Don’t Economists?), and my work has been featured in both national and industry-facing media (The Financial Times, The Guardian, and P2P Finance). Much of this engagement is linked to my research that co-created with industry partners Community Municipal Investments (CMIs) – a new model of finance for local governments to deliver their net zero infrastructure strategies. Brought to market as ‘Local Climate Bonds’, the CMI model has so far raised almost £5 million for net zero projects and is now part of a UK-wide campaign led the Green Finance Institute.


  • REF2021 Impact Case Study Author
  • Founding Director of the Bauman Institute (2020-present)
  • Director of the Bauman Institute (2010-2020)

Research interests

A student of Zygmunt Bauman, my interdisciplinary research is concerned with questions of economic and environmental sustainability – ‘ethical consumerism’, ‘prosumer communities’, ‘crowdfunding for net zero’ – and the possibilities for more collective, democratic structures to deliver fairer, greener societies for all. In pursuit of this, my work has been supported by a series of external research grants totalling over £2 million:

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Sociology
  • MA Sociology
  • BA (Hons) Social Science

Professional memberships

  • Editorial Board of Sociology journal
  • BSA Climate Change Study Group
  • BSA Work, Employment and Economic Life Study Group
  • BSA Theory Group
  • Friends Provident Foundation: Programme Advisory Group

Student education

I have supervised 7 doctoral students, all passing successfully, and currently supervise 4 PhD Projects:

In process:

  • 2022: Paula Cristina Corrêa Bologna – Housing Financialisation in Two Brazilian Capitals: An Ethnographic Approach to Debt and Gender.
  • 2019: Karl Lukas Chakravorty-Aspelin – Democratising Finance? An Evaluation of Global Innovations in Finance.
  • 2019: Caroline Bentham – What is the significance of central bank finance for the macroeconomic consensus?
  • 2018: Sherif Youssef – Social Enterprises In-Transition: Social Welfare, Entrepreneurship and the Political Economy in the State of Cairo.


  • 2020: Dr Robert Thornton-Lee – The Anonymous Function: Assessing the historical, social, and political importance of anonymity and its function in a digital age.
  • 2020: Dr Ben Hirst – Enterprise Cultures in Higher Education and the Creative Arts.
  • 2019: Dr David Wingate – Towards a genealogy of sustainable consumption.
  • 2017: Dr Jack Palmer – What are the links between modernity and specific instances of colonial and postcolonial genocide in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa?
  • 2016: Dr Natasha Barnes – Love, A Frame Analysis: Exploring the Organization of Emotion.
  • 2015: Dr Laura Cartwright – 'Permanently Temping? Learning, Earning and Precarity amongst young people in Yorkshire'.
  • 2013: Dr Jasna Balorda – Genocide and modernity: A comparative study of Bosnia, Rwanda and the Holocaust.

I have hosted international PhD students since 2015, including Soares (Brazil, 2015, 2016), Alvarez (Spain, 2019), Leiva (Mexico, 2019), and Bastero (Spain, 2018). I have examined 6 doctorates, 3 internationally (Melbourne, 2017 - Andrews; Tallinn, 2018 – Aidnek; Valencia, 2020 – Leiva).

*** I welcome new applications from prospective PhD students with interesting and impactful projects in areas relevant to my research ***

Research groups and institutes

  • The Bauman Institute
  • Leeds Social Science Institute

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>