CHEW, Matthew M.T. 趙明德

Associate Professor

Ph.D. (Princeton University)

Research Interests:

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

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.

From Apr-2020 to Oct-2020 "Remapping Hong Kong's sociopolitical schism: A focus on local social media and comparisons with other social media-assisted large-scale movements" Public Policy Research Funding Scheme (Special Round). As PI. HKD $323,495.
From Jul-2013 to Jun-2016 "Towards a sociology of nighttime: Impacts of the nighttime economy on public spaces, sociopolitical values, and socioeconomic stratification in China." General Research Fund. As PI. HKD $200,000.
From Jul-2010 to Jun-2014 "Mapping the Hong Kong game industries: Cultural policy, creative cluster, and Asian markets" Strategic Public Policy Grant. As Co I. HKD $3,500,000.
(For complete list of publications, please view Staff CV.)


Peer-reviewed publications


Chew MM (in press) Rethinking the cultural relations between Hong Kong and China: An analysis of the Chinese reception of Stephen Chow’s films. Modern China (SSCI: Area studies 50/79; Scopus: 97%, History).


Chew MM (in press) The significance and complexity of anti-corporate gamer activism: Struggles against the exploitation and control of game-worlds in 2000s China. Games and Culture 1-23. (SSCI: Cultural studies: 6/45; Scopus: 98%, Cultural studies).


Chew MM (2021) How the ‘commercialized performance of affiliative race and ethnicity’ disrupts ethnoracial hierarchy: Ethnic majority customers’ encounter with South Asian waitpersons in Hong Kong’s restaurants. Sociology 1-18. (SSCI: Sociology 8/150; Scopus: 95%, Sociology & political science).


Chew MM (2021) The translocalism of Hong Kong popular culture: An analysis of a critical Internet meme co-created across Hong Kong and China. Hong Kong Studies 3(1): 1-27.


Chew MM and Wang Y (2021) How propagames operate as a part of digital authoritarianism: An analysis of a popular Chinese propagame. Media, Culture and Society 43(8): 1431-1448. (SSCI: Sociology 30/150; Scopus: 90%, Communication).


Wang Y and Chew MM (2021) State, market, and the manufacturing of war memory: China’s television dramas on the War of Resistance against Japan. Memory Studies 1-15. (SSCI: Cultural studies 12/45; Scopus: 92%, Cultural studies).


Chew MM (2020) Reinterpreting how and why people consume counterfeit fashion products: A sociological challenge to the pro-business paradigm. Fashion Theory 1-25. (listed in A&HCI; Scopus: 91%, Visual arts & performing arts).


Chew MM (2020) Discovering the digital Stephen Chow: The transborder influence of Chow’s films on the Chinese Internet in the 2010s. Global Media and China 5(3): 1-15. (listed in ESCI).


Chew MM (2020) Assessing localization with its local sociocultural dynamics: How Hong Kong’s localized clubculture was undermined by wealth and power disparities. Globalizations 17(4): 730-745. (SSCI: Social science interdisciplinary 42/108; Scopus: 89%, General economics, econometrics and finance).


Chew MM (2019) New boundary work of rural migrants: How it opens up new potential ways of remaking rural-urban symbolic boundaries in China. Chinese Sociological Review 51(4): 421-447. (SSCI: Sociology 70/150; Scopus: 88%, Anthropology).


Chew MM and Mo SP (2019) Toward a Chinese hip-hop feminism and a feminist reassessment of hip-hop with breakdance: B-girling in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. Asian Studies Review 43(3): 1-20. (SSCI: Cultural studies 8/45; Scopus: 95%, History).


Chew, MM (2019) A critical cultural history of online games in China, 1995-2015. Games and Culture 14(3): 195–215. (SSCI: Cultural studies: 6/45; Scopus: 98%, Cultural studies).

Awards & Achievements


1998 Research and Travel Grant, Social Science Research Council (US)
1993-4 Japan Foundation Fellowship
1993 The Marion Levy Jr. Award in Comparative Sociology, Princeton University