Dr Hugh Turpin

hugh turpin


Research Affiliate

Hugh Turpin holds a BA in Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin, Masters’ degrees in social anthropology (Oxford) and cognitive science (University College Dublin), and a joint PhD from Queen’s University Belfast and Aarhus University Denmark in the cognitive anthropology of religion. His research interests include the decline of religious systems, the nature of ‘belief’, secularisation theory, the anthropologies of Christianity and Catholicism, the public implications of religious hypocrisy and Catholic clerical abuse scandals, and the anthropology and psychology of morality.

His research to date has used qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the growing rejection of Catholicism in the Republic of Ireland from a cognitive and social anthropological perspective, aiming to clarify its relationship to Catholic Church scandals and tensions around institutional secularisation in particular. This work will be set out in detail in his forthcoming monograph, Unholy Catholic Ireland: Religious hypocrisy, secular morality, and Irish ex-Catholicism (Stanford University Press). His current research project while with the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion (CSSC) in Oxford Anthropology examines the popular acceptance or rejection of scientific authority by non-specialists, and whether this may relate to underlying cognitive biases thought to influence the acceptance or rejection of religious ontologies..

Selected Publications

Turpin, H. (under review). Unholy Catholic Ireland: Religious hypocrisy, secular morality, and Irish ex-Catholicism. Stanford University Press

Turpin, H. & Lanman, J. (accepted), “The Failure of Religious Systems”, The Oxford Handbook for the Cognitive Science of Religion, Barrett, J. (ed). Oxford University Press.

Turpin, H. & Lanman, J. (accepted). “Credibility Enhancing Displays”. Lane, J. & Lior, Y. (eds). Routledge Handbook of Evolutionary Approaches to Religion. Routledge.

Turpin, H. & Stanford, M. (accepted). “Cognitively informed ethnography: Using mixed methods to capture the complexity of religious phenomena in two ecologically valid settings.” Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion.

Turpin, H. (2020). ‘Catholic scandal, the referendum, and the ongoing reconfiguration of Irish moral stances’ in the Forum ‘Repealing Ireland’s Eight Amendment:  abortion rights and democracy today’. Drazkiewicz, E. & Strong, T. (eds.) Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, 2020, 1-24

Turpin, H. (2019), “Leaving Roman Catholicism”, The Handbook of Leaving Religion, Enstedt, Larsson & Matsinen (eds.). Brill Online.

Turpin, H., Andersen, M. & Lanman, J. (2018), “CREDs, CRUDs and Catholic Scandals: Experimentally investigating the effects of religious paragon behaviour on co-religionist belief.” Religion, Brain and Behavior, 15/3/2018, pp.1-13.