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Sociology Research


It’s fair to say that Clive's research has moved around a little. Though his undergraduate degree was in economics, his PhD was closer to philosophy. After his PhD, Clive spent some years as a Research Fellow in the Department for Applied Economics, where most of his projects were concerned with economic geography. Since then he has published in sociology, psychology and politics, as well as economics, journals and been concerned with issues ranging from social ontology and history of thought to aviation emissions and the activities of technical consultancies. Clive's current research is centred upon the philosophy of technology. He has recently published a book called ‘Technology and Isolation’ which took him into a host of different places including Heidegger, the Amish, autism and globalisation. The central concern of the book is with the application of current social ontological approaches to a range of existing themes in the philosophy of technology.  The core idea is that technology can usefully be understood in terms of a more or less constant cycling between what he terms isolative and reconnective moments.  A variety of apparent puzzles and problems, concerning the nature of technology, are then resolved by focusing upon the realisation of such moments in different ways.

The majority of Clive’s teaching responsibilities currently involve teaching statistics, maths and econometrics to economics students, where he is keen to de-mystify the techniques taught at undergraduate level and encourage a critical awareness of their uses and abuses.  Clive is currently a co-editor of the Cambridge Journal of Economics and founding member of the Cambridge Social Ontology Group and the Cambridge Realist Workshop.

Research Interests

Aviation and the Environment, Philosophy of Technology, Social Ontology, Methodology of Economics, History of Thought.

Key Publications - Books

Lawson, C. Technology and Isolation, (2017) - Cambridge University Press

Key Publications - Book Chapters

Lawson, C. Feenberg, rationality and isolation, (2018) in the book: Critical theory and the thought of Andrew Feenberg - Palgrave Macmillan

Lawson Collective learning, system competences and epistemically signicant moments, (2017) in the book: High-technology clusters, networking and collective learning in Europe - Taylor and Francis

Lawson, C. Technical objects and social objects, (2013) in the book: Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences - SAGE

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Lawson, C. Order and process in institutionalist thought: Commons and Ayres, (2015) Cambridge Journal of Economics

Lawson, C. Aviation lock-in and emissions trading, (2012) Cambridge Journal of Economics

Faulkner, P., Lawson, C. and Runde, J. Theorising technology, (2010) Cambridge Journal of Economics

Lawson, C. Technology and the extension of human capabilities, (2010) Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour

Lawson, C. Ayres, technology and technical objects, (2009) Journal of Economic Issues

Research Groups & Affiliations

Job Title:
Affiliated Researcher, Girton College