Matthew Wood picture

Dr Matthew Wood

Lecturer in Politics
Deputy Director of the Crick Centre

Contact Details
Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 1683
Room: 2.11


Matt Wood is a Lecturer in Politics at the Department of Politics and Deputy Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics (Crick Centre). He has previously worked in local journalism and lobbying, and has held visiting fellowship positions at the UK Cabinet Office and ANZSOG Institute for Governance, Unviersity of Canberra.

Matt's research interests are diverse, but centre mainly upon understanding the problem of 'anti-politics' as a societal trend of disaffection, disengagement, and anger with liberal democratic politics in western states. He analyses the emergent 'anti-political' pressures upon government departments, public bodies and politicians, and how they attempt to effectively manage and shape these pressures to achieve policy change, secure political power and sustain their legitimacy. These interests infuse all of Matt's academic activities, including his research, teaching and impact work, through which he develops his ideas in an interactive and co-constitutive way with other researchers, students and practitioners.

Matt finished his PhD, entitled 'Depoliticisation, Crisis and Governance' in January 2014. The thesis challenges the common argument that vast areas of public policy have been 'depoliticised' in western states, identifying a more complex relationship between depoliticisation and politicisation in contexts of political stress (crisis). In doing so, the thesis develops a novel framework for operationalising the concepts of (de)politicisation, and applies it in two original case studies of flood management and health technology regulation in the UK. Matt is currently developing a book manuscript based on this argument, as well as developing further comparative analysis through the UK Political Studies Association's Anti-politics and Depoliticisation Specialist Group, which he co-founded.

From 2015 Matt will undertake a three-year ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellowship, studying how delegated bodies can improve trust and support for their work from stakeholders in volatile political environments. This project will involve case studies in food safety, health technology regulation and disease control and prevention, and use an innovative 'impact-led' methodology including co-production. It will build upon Matt's 2013 Visiting Fellowship at the ANZSOG Institute for Governance, University of Canberra, in which he conducted research on the Murray Darling Basin Authority's stakeholder engagement strategy.

Matt also has a number of other interests, ranging from alternative forms of political participation and the measurement of different varieties of democracy, to the sociological phenomenon of moral panics and the strategies politicians use to achieve 'celebrity' political status. While diverse, these projects are all infused with a desire to understand the tensions and pressures upon liberal democratic institutions in an era of 'anti-politics', and how they are managed. At the Crick Centre Matt is working on a number of projects building upon these interests.

Moreover, Matt has a keen interest in the 'impact' debate in political science, developed during his time at the UK Cabinet Office, and has publications on impact in a forthcoming debate within Politics journal, and the LSE's Impact of the Social Sciences blog. He is currently working on issues surrounding co-production in co-authored work within the Crick Centre.

Matt has current and forthcoming articles in Policy & Politics, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Politics, Deviant Behavior and Critical Policy Studies. He has also co-edited a special issue of Policy & Politics with Prof Matthew Flinders entitled 'Depoliticisation, Governance and the State', and is currently working on co-edited books on the subject. Matt manages the Crick Centre's Understanding Politics blog, and coordiantes the Centre's five research strands.

Career Summary

  • 2006-9 BA Politics, University of Sheffield (first class)
  • 2009-10 MA Research Methods in Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield (distinction)
  • 2010-2014 PhD Politics, University of Sheffield (pass, no corrections)
  • 2014- Postdoctoral Research Associate, Crick Centre, University of Sheffield

Professional Affiliations

  • Political Studies Association
  • European Consortium of Political Research
  • International Political Science Association

Visiting Fellowships and Positions

  • 2012 February-May UK Cabinet Office, Open Public Services Team
  • 2013 (September-December) ANZSOG Institute for Governance, University of Canberra, MDB Futures Visiting Fellow
  • 2012-present UK Country Coordinator, Varieties of Democracy project (


  • 2015-18 ESRC Future Leaders Fellowship, 'New Political Spaces: Enhancing the Legitimacy of Delegated Bodies', grant reference ES/L010925/1
  • 2009-13 ESRC 1+3 Scholarship

Impact, Public Engagement and Teaching


Key Publications

  • M Flinders and M Wood (2015), 'When Politics Fails: Hyper-Democracy and Hyper-Depoliticization', New Political Science 37 (3), pp.363-381. Link.
  • Wood, M. (2015), 'Beyond Accountability: Political Legitimacy and Delegated Water Governance in Australia', Public Administration. Link.
  • Wood, M. (2015), 'Paradoxical Politics: Emergency, Security and the Depoliticisation of Flooding', Political Studies. Link.
  • Wood, M. (2015) 'Puzzling and powering in policy paradigm shifts: politicization, depoliticization and social learning', Critical Policy Studies 9 (1), 2-21
  • 2. Link.
  • Wood, M. (2015) 'Politicisation, Depoliticisation and Anti-Politics: Towards a Multilevel Research Agenda', Political Studies Review. Link.
  • Flinders, M. and Wood, M. (2015) 'From Folk Devils to Folk Heroes: Rethinking the Theory of Moral Panics', Deviant Behaviour, 36(8). Link.
  • Wood, M. (2014) 'Holding Back the Tide: Depoliticisation, Resilience and the Herceptin Post-code Lottery Crisis', British Journal of Politics and International Relations. Link.
  • Wood, M., & Flinders, M. (2014) 'Rethinking depoliticisation: Beyond the governmental', Policy & Politics, 42(2), 151-170. Link.
  • Flinders, M., & Wood, M. (2014) 'Depoliticisation, governance and the state', Policy & Politics, 42(2), 135-149. Link.
  • Wood, M. (2014) 'Puzzling and powering in policy paradigm shifts: politicization, depoliticization and social learning', Critical Policy Studies, doi: 10.1080/19460171.2014.926825. Link.
  • Wood, M. (2013) 'Bridging the Relevance Gap in Political Science', Politics, doi: 10.1111/1467-9256.12028. Link.

View full list of publications

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