Research Groups

Practices and Politics of Culture

Coordination: Filipe Reis and Joana Lucas


The researchers involved in the research group Practices and Politics of Culture have been developing research on the contemporary processes of production, circulation, and display of culture, topics that are central to contemporary anthropology.

Combining an ethnographic approach with a historical and critical perspective, the researches analyse the processes of circulation and rescaling of cultural forms, the commodification of culture, heritage processes at different scales, the role of museums, festivals, and rituals in the process of objectification, and the construction of sites as tourist destinations.

Heritage, tangible and intangible, has been at the core of the research group’s activity, culminating in two main achievements: a) the accreditation of CRIA as NGO consultant for UNESCO (Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage); and b) CRIA’s participation, along with other two research centres – INET-md and IELT –, in the FCT funded PhD program ‘Politics and Displays of Culture and Museology’ (NOVA FCSH and ISCTE), with three editions inaugurated in 2013, 2015 and 2018.

The research group Practices and Politics for Culture aims to contribute to the growing body of knowledge on diverse contemporary modes of production of culture by carrying out detailed ethnographic case studies focused on local communities’ experience and on historic sites classified as heritage, and the immaterial aspects of culture.

The main research topics are the following:

  • ‘Ethnology of heritage’ and of heritage practices;
  • ‘Portable’ heritage and communities in transit (research conducted in conjunction with the research group Circulation and Place-Making);
  • Ethnographic archives and the archives of the ethnographers;
  • Performance, media, artistic practices, the aestheticization of heritage and its role in cultural programs and creative industries in urban and regional contexts;
  • The uses of the visual in anthropology (joint activities with the thematic line NAVA – Visual Anthropology and Arts Laboratory);
  • Ethnographic archives and collections and the representations of colonial past in museums and other institutions in Portugal.
  • Osteological archives and collections and their relationship with the themes of forensic anthropology and biological anthropology.

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