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Chinese Name



My main research areas are cultural sociology and social theory. I analyze a broad range of empirical data including academic knowledge, popular culture, new media, consumption, social movements, and race and ethnicity. Between the late 1990s and the early 2010s, I completed projects that investigate clubcultures and electronic dance music, fashion and national dresses, and video gaming in China. The mid-2010s was a period of transition, during which I shifted my intellectual attention to data on political consumption, social movements, and ethnoracial inequality. Beginning from the late 2010s and into the 2020s, I have been pursuing several social theory-driven research projects that will yield both abstract theoretical frameworks and empirical analyses. I list five of them here. The first problematizes identitarianism and especially its conflict with liberal and left-wing counterhegemonic projects. It tackles the classical political theoretical problematic of whether liberalism must tolerate or suppress illiberalism. Relevant empirical analyses will deal with transnational framing, Chinese nationalism, intersectionality theory, Sinophone theory, and ‘pro-authoritarian citizens.’ My second project aims to renew the ‘critical theory of popular culture’ with cognitive cultural sociology, cultural theories of social movements, sociology of emotions, and relational sociology. My datasets include Chinese webnovels, Internet memes, Hong Kong films, and other popular entertainment narratives. My third project develops a ‘multiscalar field perspective’ for analyzing social phenomena in the globalizing context. My empirical work will focus on the global sociology of knowledge, new and unfamiliar global ethnoracial phenomena, and global cultural inequality. My fourth project rethinks what neoliberalism is through critiquing Marx’s understanding of capitalism and revising it with elite theory. With datasets on super-rich elites, celebrity systems, and crowdfunding, I demonstrate why neoliberalism is more adequately understood as anti-market, authoritarian, and neo-feudal. My fifth project theorizes the great protest wave of ‘social media-assisted large-scale movements,’ which began in the late 2000s and is still ongoing. I interpret most of these movements in terms of ‘transversal autonomism’: a solidarity of left-wing, right-wing, and other politically aligned citizens that aims to peer-produce (all aspects of) society and displace (neo-feudal) neoliberalism.

Research Interests

Cultural sociology, social theory, sociology of consumption, sociology of knowledge, and media sociology

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


Dive into the research topics where Matthew M T CHEW is active. Topic labels come from the works of this scholar.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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