IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Dr Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou

Dr Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou is the Director of the UCL Centre for Capitalism Studies and the Programme Leader of the Sociology BSc.

What attracted you to take up your position at IOE? 

Joining a world-class research centre in the heart of my favourite London neighbourhood.

How long have you been at IOE?

Since January 2017.

What do you most enjoy about your position and why? 

As Director of the UK’s first research centre on capitalism studies, I am delighted to be leading an interdisciplinary ‘dream team’ of UCL academics from across three faculties in developing a world class platform for critical engagement with urgent economic questions (from a non-economistic perspective).

And as Programme Leader of the Sociology BSc, I enjoy immensely working with some of the brightest students in the country, who will undoubtedly leave their mark on the world as graduates of UCL’s first ever undergraduate degree in Sociology.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

The UCL Centre for Capitalism Studies (CCS), which I launched in October 2023, is one of the world’s first research centres entirely dedicated to the study of capitalism from a truly multi-disciplinary perspective.

To applaud capitalism adds little to humanity’s conversations about markets and financial institutions, and to merely dismiss it coarsens our capacity to understand fully its profound impact on our everyday life.

Starting from this principle, the CCS develops an unparalleled programme of research into the global capitalist economy integrating diverse economic, historical, sociological and cultural perspectives. We offer a unique hub for exploring wide-ranging possibilities for reform and alternatives to capitalism.

Our mission is to improve our understanding of the ‘black box’ of finance, how it imagines and fashions our future, and draw out clear lessons for political institutions and society at large.

Our strategic aim is to become a global leader in shaping critical intellectual debates on capitalism and a major agent of economic policy influence by 2030.

What is the focus of your research?

My research traces the multifaceted impact of global markets on everyday life and on our political imagination. I seek to develop a critical theory of finance and an alternative vocabulary with which to study overlooked practices of speculation and counter-speculation historically and at present.

This work enters an exciting new stage with the establishment of the Centre for Capitalism Studies, which brings together leading scholars in the field, from UCL and beyond, to address these urgent questions.

What's the most important thing you've learned from your students about the subject(s) you teach?

My students manage to both ground me and uplift me at the same time, and I owe them much of my academic sanity for that!

Thanks to them, I continue to renew my faith in the power of imagination despite the gloom we collectively face. 

Do you think being in London and at UCL benefits your work and why?

Being interested in the labyrinths of capitalism and the imagination, I find London one of the richest possible sites for fieldwork, a constant source of frustration and inspiration.

What might it surprise people to know about you?

I am the first in my family to attend university.

Last updated 8 February 2024.