Robert Ogman

Job: PhD Student

Faculty: Business and Law

School/department: Faculty of Business and Law

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: N/A




Personal profile

Robert Ogman’s research interests include the current economic crisis, struggles over competing exit strategies, and new modes and trajectories of crisis governance. He previously focused on the U.S. Occupy moment as a reaction to growing social and material inequalities and the related erosion of democracy. In his doctoral research, he applies a cultural political economy approach inspired by Bob Jessop and Ngai-Ling Sum, to the reproduction and renegotiation of hegemony, analysing the growing “social investment market” in the U.S. and U.K. This involves a new wave of “public responsibility” initiatives that, rather than constraining market forces, modify, reproduce, and expand market modes of governance in response to new social, political, and economic challenges.

The centrepiece of this investigation is an empirical study of the increasingly popular policy instrument known as Social Impact Bonds (SIB), using the U.S. and U.K. as case studies. SIBs claim to address growing social needs in a time of fiscal crisis by “mobilising private capital for public good”. These are constructed as a way of addressing social crises exacerbated by austerity while avoiding a politics of redistribution, via the incentivisation of private investment in performance-based social policy interventions. These new products claim to provide a win-win-win situation “blending fiscal and social benefits” that increase funding for service provision, provide financial returns to investors, and relieve over-stretched government purses. 

The research project examines SIBs as part of a “social neoliberal” compromise which attempts to address weaknesses in the dominant austerity paradigm without however (re)turning to a politics of redistribution. It interrogates both the proposed and actual changes in the dynamic relations between state, market, and civil society in the investigated cases, as well as the “responsible capitalism” discourse that accompany these initiatives. Focusing in particular on the tension between their public and private goals, it looks at the opportunities, limitations and contradictions of Social Impact Bonds as a sustainable and transformative reform project.

In addition to his scholarly work, he has been involved in a host of community and civil society initiatives to counter the social polarisation and de-democratisation resulting from neoliberal crisis management strategies. He is interested in building the links between critical research and engaged practice as part of a democratic renewal.

Research group affiliations

Berlin-Britain Research Network - Critical Austerity Studies

Key research outputs

“The U.S. Occupy Movement – Since the Eviction from the Squares”, A study for the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (Berlin, Germany), March 2014.

“Kämpfe an der Krisenfront: Occupy-USA nach den Räumungen” (Struggles on the Frontlines of the Crisis: The U.S. Occupy Movement after the Evictions), Luxemburg 17 3-4 (December 2013).

Against the Nation. Anti-National Politics in Germany, New Compass Press (Porsgrunn), 2013. 

Research interests/expertise

  • Critical Political Economy and Cultural Political Economy
  • Global Economic Crisis and Crisis Governance Strategies
  • Neoliberalism and Post-Neoliberalism
  • Social and Political Movements
  • Critical Realism


MA. The University of Potsdam, Germany, Political Science.

BA. The New School, New York City, Social and Historical Inquiry.

Conference attendance

City University of New York, The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, 10 March 2015, New York City, “‘Private Capital for Public Good’. Social Impact Bonds and the New Market-Based ‘Public Responsibility’ Initiatives”, Presentation.

Urban Austerity. Impacts of the global financial crisis on cities in Europe, 4-5 December 2014, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany, “’Blending social and financial returns’: Social Impact Bonds as Crisis Governance Strategy”, Conference Paper.

Interrogating Urban Crisis. Governance, Contestation and Critique, 9-11 September 2013, De Montfort University Leicester, U.K., “The U.S. Occupy Movement and Alternative Policy Agendas to Neoliberal Crisis Governance”, Conference Paper.

Political Economy, Activism and Alternative Economic Strategies. International Initiative for PromotingPolitical Economy's Fourth Annual Conference in Political Economy, 9-11 July 2013, InternationalInstitute for Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands, “Financialization, the Economic Crisis, and DebtOrganizing Campaigns in the United States”, Conference Paper.