SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

SOAS Economics Vision Statement

Intersecting Inequalities and Environmental Justice in Heterodox Economics

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis are exposing, perhaps more clearly than ever, the class, race and gender fragmentations in the contemporary global economic system. Once again, economics as a discipline faces a challenge to its relevance and purpose in light of these unfolding intersecting crises.

The Department’s leadership in political economy, development and heterodox economics, as well as its regional and global expertise underscore its responsibility to foster scholarship that helps us understand and respond to intensifying inequalities and environmental degradation. The SOAS Economics Department is committed to playing a significant role in influencing the scholarly and policy landscapes to develop visions for alternative post-COVID economies. Since its inception, SOAS Economics has provided a vital space for economic heterodoxy and pluralism. It plays an important role in countering the dominant universalistic and a-historical approaches of mainstream economics. At the same time, it is strongly committed to challenging collectively our assumptions and practices - in particular, with regard to the uneven recognition of gendered and racialised relations that persist within political economy and heterodox economics. While class analysis has traditionally been prominent across our contributions, there remain branches of work that are silent on the way that gender and race articulate with class and the ecology.

We seek to promote critical reflection of our practices with the aim of strengthening our teaching and research agendas that seek to tackle multiple inequalities and achieve environmental sustainability. 

We commit to:

  1. Creation of a Student-Staff Decolonise Economics Working Group at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year. Organisation of the 2020-21 SOAS Economics Webinars series around the theme of Intensifying Inequalities and the Limitations of Global Capitalism.
  2. Expand the work of the Student-Staff SOAS Economics Sustainability Group that was created in 2019-2020, focusing on the incorporation of ecological issues into the teaching of economics, the decarbonisation of SOAS activities and the support of fresh approaches to our understanding of low-carbon transitions and environmental justice.
  3. Review of curricula and reading lists to introduce or give more emphasis to colonialism, race, gender and the environment in economics, particularly by integrating these topics in our core modules.
  4. Reinforcement of outreach activities, diverse pedagogical approaches and assessment techniques to continue promoting diversity in our student body and close the attainment gap. 
  5. Review of hiring practices within the remit of the SOAS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy on the basis of representation (i.e. increase number of staff from under-represented backgrounds) and structure (i.e. work in collaboration with the Decolonise SOAS Working Group to change structural barriers that prevent entry and progression of staff from under-represented backgrounds).
  6. Continue to engage with international organisations, governments and central banks with the aim of pushing for radical changes in the way that they approach gender, race, climate change and environmental justice.
  7. Preparation of a volume on ‘Decolonise Economics’ edited by heterodox economists, political economists and other social scientists from the Global South and North.