Emma Barrett

Emma Barrett

Department of History
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: The Workings of Power: A Network Analysis of Thatcher’s Financial Revolution   
SupervisorProfessor Nick Crowson, Dr Matthew Francis and Dr Chris Moores 
PhD History


The project examines what drove financial deregulation in the 1980s. In so doing, it provides new ways of thinking about policies and practices of Thatcherism and the City of London. The 1986 Financial Services Act was passed to regulate the financial services industry after reforms, planned by the government and City from 1983, and introduced in the Big Bang of 27 October 1986, when restrictive practices of Stock Exchange firms ended and computerised trading began. Debate surrounding the financial revolution centres on whether it was ideologically driven by the New Right or by the interests of the City, reacting to structural economic change.

Challenging this established perspective, my project examines the role of networked individuals, who often moved between different sectors, to reveal how and in what direction power and influence was exercised and explain the rationale for reform. My focus on networks privileges people and process, and offers new ways of understanding relationships between financial services, political parties, policy, democracy and the economy. It will reveal how power works in contemporary Britain.