Ralph Matthews

Contact InformationRalph Matthews
#1311, 6303 North West Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1
Tel 1-604-822-4386

Current Positions

  • Professor, Sociology, UBC
  • Professor Emeritus, Sociology, McMaster University
  • Adjunct Professor, Centre for Environment and Population Health Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Griffith University, Australia.
  • Associate Faculty, Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability

Research Interests

Dr. Matthews’ current research focuses primarily around issues of social capital, community resilience, and sustainable resource development. He is the Principal Investigator of the Resilient Communities Project, funded by a SSHRC strategic grant which is examining the relationship between social capital, community resilience and economic development in coastal British Columbia communities. He is also Principal Investigator of a SSHRC funded Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) project that is working with, and providing research capacity to, six communities and their adjacent First Nations in coastal British Columbia. In addition, Dr. Matthews is Principal Investigator of a Bayer Canada-Canadian Blood Services-HPma Quebec-CIHR funded project examining the relationship between social capital and blood donation. Finally, he is Principal Investigator on a series of research projects related to the social impact of aquaculture and the social construction of knowledge and science by those involved in the aquaculture industry.


1. Matthews, Ralph and Robin Sydneysmith: “Adaptive Capacity as a Dynamic Institutional Process: Conceptual Perspectives and their Application”. In Derrick Armitage and Ryan Plummer (eds.), Adaptive Capacity: Building Environmental Governance in an Age of Uncertainty. N.Y.: Springer. (2010).

2. Matthews, Ralph and Robin Sydneysmith: “Climate Change and Institutional Capacity in an ‘Arctic Gateway’ City: A CAVIAR Case Study of Whitehorse, Yukon”, in Grete Hovelsrud and Barry Smit (eds.), CAVIAR: Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in Arctic Regions, New York, N.Y.: Springer Publishing Company (2010).

3. Matthews, Ralph , Ravi Pendakur, and Nathan Young: “Social Capital, Labour Markets, and Job-Finding in Rural and Urban Regions: Comparing Paths to Employment in Prosperous Cities and Stressed Rural Communities in Canada”. The Sociological Review. 57(2): 206-230.

4. Young, Nathan and Ralph Matthews . “Resource economies and neo-liberal experimentation: The reform of industry and community in rural British Columbia”, AREA: Journal of the Royal Geographical Society / Institute of British Geographers, 39 (2): 176-185.

5. Young, Nathan, and Ralph Matthews . “Experts’ Understanding of the Public: Knowledge Control in a Risk Controversy”. Public Understanding of Science, 16 (2): 123-144.

6. Fiddler, Jay, Linda Hurd Clarke, Andre Smith and Ralph Matthews . “The Social Determinants of blood Donation: Preliminary Findings from an Ethnographic Study”, Experimental and Clinical Cardiology, 10 (1)

7. Clarke, Laura Hurd, Anne Martin-Matthews, and Ralph Matthews . “The Continuity and Discontinuity of the Embodied Self in Infertility”. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 43(1): 95-113.

8. Matthews, Ralph and Nathan Young (2005). “Development on the Margin – Development Orthodoxy and the Success of Lax Kw’Alaams, British Columbia”. Journal of Aboriginal Economic Development, 4(2): 95-103.

9. Richmond, Chantelle A. M., Susan J. Elliott, Brian Elliott, and Ralph Matthews . “The Political Ecology of Health: Perceptions of Environment, Economy, Health and Well-Being among Namgis First Nation”. Health and Place, 11 (4): 349-365.

10. Dorothee Schreiber, Ralph Matthews and Brian Elliott. “The Framing of Farmed Fish: Product, Efficiency and Technology”. The Canadian Journal of Sociology, 28 (2): 153-169.

11. Jason Z. Lian and David Ralph Matthews . “Does the Vertical Mosaic Still Exist? Ethnicity and Income in Canada, 1991″, Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 35(4):461-481.

12. “Sociology and Its Publics – Whither Sociology: An Introduction”, Canadian Journal of Sociology, 23(2-3):135-141.

13. “Ways of Understanding: Canada and the Concept of Canadian Studies”, The Journal of Canadian Studies, 32(1):28-43.

14. “Mere Anarchy?: Canada’s “Turbot War” As the Moral Regula¬tion of Nature”, The Canadian Journal of Sociol¬ogy, Vol. 21, No. 4,

15. “Constructing Fisheries Management: A Values Perspec¬tive”, Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Spring), pp. 44-57.

16. “Commons versus Open Access: The Collapse of Canada’s East Coast Fishery”, The Ecologist, Vol. 25, No.2/3, pp. 86-96.

17. Susan French, Derek Watters, and David Ralph Matthews . “Nursing as a Career Choice for Women in Pakistan”, Journal of Advanced Nursing. Vol. 19, 140-151.

18. “Designing Canada’s Future: Public Policy, Social and Economic Development and the Power of Ideas”, The Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health. 8(2):5-12.

19. “Federal Licensing Policies for the Atlantic Inshore Fishery and their Implementation in Newfoundland: 1973 to 1981”, Acadiensis: Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region 17(2):83-108.

20. Ralph Matthews and John Phyne. “Regulating the Newfoundland Inshore Fishery: Traditional Values versus State Control in the Regulation of a Common Property Resource”, Journal of Canadian Studies. 23:158-176.


  • Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 1970
  • M.A., University of Minnesota, 1967
  • B.A., Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1964