Dr Matt Wilde

Dr Matt Wilde

Postdoctoral fellow

Department of Anthropology

+44 (0)20 7955 7480
Room No
OLD 6.06A

About me

Matt Wilde received his PhD from the LSE in 2013. He specialises in research on popular and egalitarian politics, the state, ethics and morality, urban environments and political economy. To date his work has explored the lives of working-class residents in two very different contemporary cities: Valencia in Venezuela and London in the UK.

Matt’s first research project examined change, continuity and crisis in a Venezuelan barrio amid the political movement often known as the Bolivarian Revolution. It traced the experiences of local residents and activists as they developed new political institutions in their communities as part of a broader drive to reshape Venezuelan society. The project highlighted the complex ideological and institutional entanglements that were produced through the launch of neighbourhood councils and communes, showing how a host of competing motivations, understandings and imaginaries characterised participation in new political spaces at the local level. Matt’s work on Venezuela draws attention to the role of the country’s oil economy in simultaneously enabling and impeding utopian projects, and explores how individual and collective survival strategies evolve through periods of crisis and upheaval.

In September 2015, Matt began a new research project as part of a collaborative ESRC-funded project headed by Professor Deborah James entitled An Ethnography of Advice: Between Market, Society and the Declining Welfare State. Matt’s contribution to this project looks at the everyday politics of austerity, advice and housing in contemporary London. It documents the struggles of the city’s low-income tenants as they attempt to navigate problems such as evictions, displacement and local authority gatekeeping, and examines how networks of mutual support are creating new forms of political and ethical community in a time of rising inequality.

Since 2011, Matt has taught courses in the Anthropology of Economics and Development, Anthropology and Human Rights, Culture and Globalisation, the Anthropology of Latin America and Ethnography and Theory, as well as a number of interdisciplinary modules. He has received two teaching awards for his work in the classroom: the student-nominated teaching award from the LSE’s Department of Anthropology in 2013, and the LSESU award for excellent welfare and pastoral support in 2015.

Expertise Details

Venezuela; UK; popular politics; democracy and egalitarianism; the state; urban life; political economy

Selected publications

Journal articles and book chapters

2017. Embryonic alternatives amid London’s housing crisis. Anthropology Today, 33(5): 16-19. 

2017. “To Fill Yourself with Goodness”: Revolutionary Self-Making in Bolivarian VenezuelaBulletin of Latin American Research.

2017. Utopian Disjunctures: Popular democracy and the communal state in urban VenezuelaCritique of Anthropology, 37 (2).

2017. Participatory Democracy and the Communal Councils in Chávez’s VenezuelaLatin American Perspectives, Issue 212, Vol. 44 (1), 140-158.

Commentary and Analysis

2017. Why Theresa’s May pledges won’t fix the UK’s housing disaster. The Guardian.

2017. Populism, Right and Left. Public Books.

2016. Our immoral housing policy is set up to punish the poorThe Guardian.

2015. Participation and Polarization After Chávez. In Cultural Anthropology’s  “hot spots” special on Venezuela.  

2011. On the Riots and the Need for a New CommonsCounterpunch.


Forthcoming. We Are The State! Barrio Activism in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, by Cristobal Valencia Ramirez. Bulletin of Latin American Research.

2014. Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism, by Roger Burbach, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes, Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 34  (1), 131-133. 

2014. Chávez’s Children: Ideology, Education, and Society in Latin America, by Manuel AnselmiJournal of Latin American Studies, No. 46, 622-624. 

2011. Who Can Stop The Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela, by Sujatha Fernandes. Alborada: Latin America Uncovered.