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Dr Miriam Bankovsky Senior Lecturer, Politics

Miriam Bankovsky is a Senior Lecturer, director of the Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and the elected staff member for University Council (Senate). She received the 2017 Australasian Association of Philosophy’s Annette Baier Prize for her work on economic envy.

She is now completing a book manuscript entitled The Family, Economics and Ethics: An Unorthodox History, following an Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship which ended in 2019. This book tells an as yet untold story about how market-paradigm economists have historically conceptualised the family's role in the economy, focusing on three broad periods. These include the nineteenth century production-focused theories of Alfred Marshall, Jevons, the French Spiritualists, Walras and Pareto; the interwar consumer-oriented theories of Hazel Kyrk, Elizabeth Hoyt and Margaret Reid; and the economic rationality approaches of the New Household Economics (with a focus on Gary Becker). The conceptualisation of the family is shown to change from an element in extra-familial industrial production, to an important institution for improving well-being through family consumption activities, to an agent of rational choice.

In first place, the book reveals the close intersection between theory-construction in economics and broader historical concerns (including advancing industrialisation; the "social question" and population debates; the domestic void and consumer culture; and accelerating individualisation). In second place, the book explores how these theoretical constructs both facilitated and constrained the economic analysis of family behaviour. Framed by a critical re-orientation of economic historiography as necessarily but contingently problem-focused, the book opens onto a deeper question about how to define the economic problems that families face today and how we might use economic analysis to respond.

Before this, Miriam completed a French-Australian Cotutelle PhD in political philosophy on competing conceptions of justice within a broadly Kantian tradition (interpreted quite differently by analytic and continental political philosophers), publishing Perfecting Justice in Rawls, Habermas and Honneth: A Deconstructive Perspective (Hardback Continuum 2012, Paperback Bloomsbury 2013), and two collections (co-edited with Dr Alice Le Goff, University of Paris V) on recognition theory and contemporary French philosophy (Manchester UP 2012, and CNRS Editions Alpha, Paris 2012).

With these plural but overlapping interests, she has published in journals affiliated with very different disciplines and sub-disciplines, including Oxford Economic Papers, Cambridge Journal of Economics, History of Political Economy, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Philosophy & Social Criticism, Philosophy Today, and the Australian Journal of Political Science.

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