Dr Matt Wilde

Lecturer in Human GeographyMatt Wilde

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Matt trained in anthropology and received his PhD from the London School of Economics in 2013. Prior to taking up a permanent role at Leicester in 2018, he held research and teaching positions with the Institute of Latin American Studies, the University of Sussex and the LSE. Matt has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Venezuela since 2008 and the UK since 2015. His work has appeared in a range of scholarly publications, including Anthropology Today, the Bulletin of Latin American Research, Critique of Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnos, Latin American Perspectives, and the Radical Housing Journal. Beyond his academic work, Matt has written op-ed pieces for Counterpunch, The Guardian and Public Books.


Matt is an ethnographer whose works sits at the interface between political and economic anthropology and critical urban studies. His research interests encompass themes such as urban social movements, democracy and populism, political economies of energy, ethics/morality and the state. In Venezuela, Matt's work explores the relationship between the petro-state, grassroots politics and everyday morality during a period of rapid and contradictory social change. He is currently writing a book based on a decade's research in the country, which charts the struggles of working-class barrio residents as they lived through first the promise of radical change under the late president Hugo Chávez and then the slide into crisis under his successor, Nicolás Maduro.

Between 2015 and 2018, Matt conducted research on the politics of housing and austerity governance in contemporary London as part of a collaborative project looking at questions of advice, governance and care across Europe. Matt's contribution to this project explored the complex political and moral relationships that shape contested visions of housing among precariously housed tenants, landlords, local charities, grassroots housing activists and state bureaucrats.

Matt's research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Society for Latin American Studies, the Camel Trust and the Global Challenges Research Fund. He recently started new research project looking at Venezuela's multidimensional crisis both within and beyond the country's borders.


Journal articles

Wilde, M (2020) Eviction, gatekeeping and militant care: moral economies of housing in austerity London. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology.

Wilde, M (2019) Resisting the rentier city: grassroots housing activism and renter subjectivity in post-crisis London. Radical Housing Journal 1(2): 63-80.

Wilde, M (2018) ‘To Fill Yourself with Goodness’: Revolutionary Self-Making in Bolivarian Venezuela. Bulletin of Latin American Research 37(2).

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

Wilde, M (2017) Utopian disjunctures: popular democracy and the communal state in urban Venezuela. Critique of Anthropology, 37(1): 47-66.

Wilde, M (2017) Contested Spaces: Participatory Democracy and the Communal Councils in Chávez's Venezuela. Latin American Perspectives, 212, 44(1): 140-158.


Wilde, M (2020) After Corona: The Ethical Case for a Green New Deal. University of Leicester Research Bites seminar.

Wilde, M (2018) Debt and precarious housing: ending a vicious cycle. UCL Institute for Global Prosperity.

Wilde, M (2017) Why Theresa’s May pledges won’t fix the UK’s housing disaster. The Guardian.

Wilde, M (2017) Populism, Right and Left. Public Books.

Wilde, M(2016) Our immoral housing policy is set up to punish the poor. The Guardian.

Wilde, M (2015) Participation and Polarization After Chávez. Cultural Anthropology.

Wilde, M (2011) On the Riots and the Need for a New Commons. Counterpunch.


Wilde, M (2019) Channeling the State: Community Media and Popular Politics in Venezuela, by Naomi Schiller. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Wilde, M (2017) We Are The State! Barrio Activism in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, by Cristobal Valencia Ramirez. Bulletin of Latin American Research 36(2): 256-257.

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

Wilde, M (2014) Chávez’s Children: Ideology, Education, and Society in Latin America, by Manuel Anselmi. Journal of Latin American Studies, No. 46, 622-624.

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


  • GY1422 Introduction to Leicester Geographies
  • GY2412 Economy, Society and Space
  • GY2415 Overseas Field Course
  • GY2416 Space, Territory and Power
  • GY3412 Cities of the Global South
  • GY7412 Critical and Creative Geographies


Matt is interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas:

  • Activism, popular politics and social movements
  • Critical urban studies
  • Democracy and populism
  • Ethnographic approaches to the state
  • Political and economic anthropology and geography
  • Europe, Latin America and the UK

Enquiries: If you are interested in studying for a PhD in one of these research areas, please make informal enquiries via pgrgeog@le.ac.uk.

Find out more information about Geography PhDs including more research areas, how to apply, funding and entry requirements.

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