Guilherme Figueiredo

guilherme figueiredo

DPhil Student

St Edmund Hall

Research interests: Anthropology of place; anthropological theory; religion; Japanese religions; ritual; modernity and secularism; ethics; pragmatism; hermeneutics; phenomenology.

Research: My research crosses the anthropology of place and space with the anthropology of religion, focusing on traditional Japanese religions in modernity. Broadly, I am interested in understanding the conceptual and practical roles of places (and notions of place and space) in Japanese religious practices. Certain places with historical, cultural, and natural significance play fundamental roles in many aspects of religion in Japan: divinities are called into places, sacred precincts are regularly set up for religious events, and sacredness is embedded in various features of the natural and urban landscapes. Moreover, besides constituting the physical regions in which religion takes place, places (and the material culture in them) also provide the conceptual tools through which identity and religious ideas are understood, lived, and expressed.

I am currently conducting fieldwork in a major Shinto shrine in southern Japan, closely following rituals, ceremonies, yearly festivals, and the daily lives of priests and parishioners. I am also looking into local ideas of religiosity, secularism, and how traditional religious places and practices are responding and adapting to a modern and post-industrialised context.

Previously, I have devoted my research to philosophical and theoretical aspects of anthropology and the social sciences. Drawing mainly on three philosophical traditions (pragmatism, hermeneutics, and phenomenology), I worked on the issues of intercultural interpretation, the role of ‘ethnocentrism’ in anthropological practice, objectivity, and relativism.

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Contact: guilherme.figueiredo[at]