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Dr Miriam Bankovsky Senior Lecturer, Politics

Miriam Bankovsky is a Senior Lecturer and Australian Research Council DECRA fellow, in the Politics program at La Trobe University. She was recently awarded the 2017 Australasian Association of Philosophy’s Annette Baier Prize for her work on economic envy.

Provisionally entitled “The family, economics and ethics: an unorthodox history of household economics”, Miriam's current research takes a critical look at the strategies deployed by orthodox economists to avoid ethical value judgments. It does so by studying the history of orthodox accounts of familial preferences and behaviour, showing that the rise of ethical agnosticism in economics from the late nineteenth century onwards sits uncomfortably with the various presumptions about social good that have nonetheless informed the history of household economics. From the social ethics of higher-faculty development of Alfred Marshall’s nineteenth century family economics, to the “standards of living” of the mostly ignored early twentieth-century home and consumer economists (including Hazel Kyrk, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Margaret Reid), to the ethics of rational choice of the New Household Economists (including Gary Becker), Miriam's research counters the accepted wisdom, for she shows that various and quite diverse ethical assumptions about what families need and what they should be striving to achieve have informed orthodox standards of measurement, restricting what is discovered and proposed.

The project reflects both her sustained interest in socio-economic justice, as well as her disciplinary plurality, working comfortably across Philosophy, Politics, Economics and History. With a French-Australian Cotutelle PhD in philosophy, Miriam's prior work focused on competing conceptions of justice, across the analytic-continental divide, that fall within a broadly Kantian tradition, leading to the publication of Perfecting Justice in Rawls, Habermas and Honneth: A Deconstructive Perspective (Hardback Continuum 2012, Paperback Bloomsbury 2013), as well as two collections (co-edited with Dr Alice Le Goff, University of Paris V) on recognition theory and contemporary French philosophy and social theory (Manchester UP 2012, and CNRS Editions Alpha, Paris 2012). She has published in journals affiliated with very different disciplines and sub-disciplines, including Cambridge Journal of Economics, History of Political Economy, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Philosophy & Social Criticism, and Philosophy Today.

With two pre-school age children, her decision to work a mixture of part- and fulltime fractions allows her to aspire to a work-life balance.


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