Matthew Hayes





Matthew Hayes is Professor of Sociology and Canada Research Chair in Global and Transnational Studies at St. Thomas University. He has been with the department since 2009, having defended his PhD dissertation at York University in 2008. Prior to that, he also taught at UNB and Université de Moncton.


Professor Hayes’s understanding of sociology borrows heavily from C. Wright Mills, from the decolonial scholarship of Aníbal Quijano, and from the connected modernity approach of Gurminder Bhambra and Julian Go. Sociology is the study of the interconnection of history and biography. As C. Wright Mills put it, our discipline is about seeing the lives of individuals as the product of social forces. Many of our personal troubles are deeply intertwined with what he called “public issues.” In the midst of a global affordable housing crisis which resulted from policy decisions in the 1990s that made people much more dependent on market forces rather than the state for their housing, it is sometimes not difficult to see how this plays out in people’s lives.


As Pierre Bourdieu points out in his work, our lives are also the result of inherited cultural and material resources that are not evenly distributed to everyone. Rather than seeing these inheritances as the inevitable result of natural forces or varying individual talents, global sociology pushes us to see our emerging global community as interconnected and mutually-constituted. Powerful individuals and places exist in relation to subordinate people and places, who have mutually constructed material wealth—not always on terms of their own choosing. Toronto’s expanding skyline represents the extraction of Canadian mining companies in the Canadian North and in Latin America, just as the lights of Paris are kept on by the massive open pit Uranium mines in its former colony of Niger. The lives of people at the mine head are intimately connected to the condo dwellers in the financial centres of the global economy.  


At St. Thomas, you will learn to study the most cutting-edge sociology from diverse parts of the world, spanning different perspectives and problems. You will develop the tools and lenses you need to tackle the world at this exciting historical moment. In addition to learning important research skills, you will be trained to think sociologically about your everyday life in our shared global society.