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 and beliefs, secularisation theory, the anthropologies of Christianity and Catholicism, and the anthropology and psychology of morality.

His PhD research examined 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 in particular. The project consisted of a nationally representative survey and two years of fieldwork with non-religious and religious actors and individuals in Dublin. Findings suggested that the rejection of Catholicism in the Republic of Ireland is underpinned by strong moral judgements linked to clerical abuse and other Catholicism-related scandals, and lingering Catholic influence on Irish social institutions. This is undergirded by an existing and longstanding decline in religious transmission. This social context encourages the emergence and spread of particularly strong forms of religious rejection, focussed as much against inertial ‘cultural’ affiliation as devout belief.

In 2019 he joined the Brain, Belief and Behaviour laboratory in Coventry University as a Research Associate. He is currently involved in a number of projects at The Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion (CSSC) relating to religion and morality.

Selected Publications

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

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., 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.