Jamie is a political and cultural sociologist whose research explores contemporary social movements, popular protest and cultures of resistance. His work uses ethnographic and engaged methods to interrogate the tactics, territories, ideas and cultural forms at the heart of collective action. His work employs concepts drawn from post-structuralism (particularly Deleuze and Guattari), and a broad critical theoretical literature from various Marxisms and post-Marxisms, in addition to a critical engagement with the field of social movement studies.
He has published work on the organisational and discursive forms of anti-austerity movements in the UK, and in particular the Occupy movement. This addresses themes such as: the nature of occupation, and the intensities of movement territory; the ambivalent populism of the squares movements; the idea of ‘the people’ in radical movements; the processes of movement composition and the limitations of the idea of ‘collective identity’. His work also engages with the question of collective speech in autonomous movements. He is currently working on developing some of these themes for a project on coalition building in radical environmental justice networks.
Jamie’s inderdisciplinary background means that his research and teaching draw on methods and ideas from sociology, history, literary theory, cultural studies, and political philosophy. He is particularly interested in developments in the organisation of work, production, and consumption, consumer culture and branding,
Jamie joined Goldsmiths in September 2017. Before that, he worked at the University of Manchester, where his teaching focused on political sociology, cultural studies, social movements, and social theory.
Jamie convenes the MA in Brands, Communication and Culture, which is delivered between the Sociology department and the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies. As part of that programme, he is the main lecturer and seminar leader for the core Spring term module, Branding II: Key Themes and Debates.
Jamie convenes and teaches on the third year option module Privacy, Surveillance and Security, and is a lecturer on the first-year module Imaginative Criminology in the Autumn term.
Jamie’s research interests centre on contemporary movements, particularly in the Global North, against austerity, nationalism and climate change. He is interested in the territories and forms of collectivity that emerge in collective action, but also how these relate to wider problems in the history of the radical left. A recurring desire is to understand movements’ adequacy (or not) for confronting contemporary forms of exploitation and oppression.
Jamie is interested in the applications of Deleuze-Guattarian concepts to social movement analysis, and to key debates in Marxism/post-Marxism that intensified with the movements of 2011.
He is interested in the problem of producing engaged but critical research on political movements, including debates surrounding autoethnography, ‘native’ ethnography and ‘militant’ ethnography.
Publications and research outputs
Matthews, Jamie. 2019. Populism from below? Occupy, ‘the 99%’ and the problem with representation. The Sociological Review Magazine, ISSN 2754-1371
Matthews, Jamie. 2019. Populism, inequality and representation: Negotiating ‘the 99%’ with Occupy London. The Sociological Review, 67(5), pp. 1018-1033. ISSN 0038-0261
Matthews, Jamie. 2018. Occupation as refrain: territory and beyond in Occupy London. Social Movement Studies, 17(2), pp. 127-143. ISSN 1474-2837