Dr Joseph Webster
Fellow in Anthropology
Lecturer in the Study of Religion (Faculty of Divinity)

Director of Studies in Anthropology, Graduate Tutor

2008–2012: University of Edinburgh, PhD, Social Anthropology

2007–2008: University of Edinburgh, MScR, Social Anthropology (Distinction)

2003–2007: University of Edinburgh, MA Hons., Social Anthropology and Sociology (First Class)

My primary research interest concerns the Anthropology of Religion, with a particular focus on Protestantism in Scotland and the global north. My first monograph, The Anthropology of Protestantism (2013), is an ethnography of apocalyptic sign searching within an Exclusive Brethren fishing community in Northeast Scotland. My second monograph, The Religion of Orange Politics (2020), is an ethnographic account of ethno-religious nationalism within the Orange Order, Scotland's largest Protestant-only fraternity. Specific research interests include:

  • Protestant fundamentalism, Millenarianism, Apocalypticism
  • Ethno-religious nationalism, Unionism, Loyalism, The Orange Order
  • Personhood, Fraternity, Hate
  • Sectarianism, football fandom, and debates about free speech
  • North Atlantic, Britain, Scotland, Northern Ireland
  • The relationship between Anthropology and Theology

Connected to my research on ethno-religious nationalism, I have undertaken work on the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. I have acted as an expert witness to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee, giving evidence in support of repeal. My research on this topic has been profiled in the media, including in the Times, Scotsman, Herald, Sun, and Express newspapers, as well as on STV's Scotland Tonight.


The Religion of Orange Politics: Protestantism and Fraternity in Contemporary Scotland (2020) https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526113764/

The Anthropology of Protestantism: Faith and Crisis among Scottish Fishermen (2013) https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9781137336538


Webster, J. (In Press). 'Christian Denominations as Social Institutions: An Afterward' in Anthropological Quarterly

Webster, J. (2019). 'Whose sins do the Brethren confess?' in Ethnoswww.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00141844.2019.1582547

Webster, J. (2017). 'Praying for Salvation: A Map of Relatedness' in Religion 47 (1): 19-34.

Webster, J. (2013). 'The Eschatology of Global Warming in a Scottish Fishing Village' in Cambridge Anthropology 31 (1): 68-84.

Webster, J. (2012). 'The Immanence of Transcendence: God and the Devil on the Aberdeenshire Coast' in Ethnos 78 (3): 380-402.

Webster, J. (2008). 'Establishing the 'Truth' of the Matter: Confessional Reflexivity as Introspection and Avowal' in Psychology and Society 1 (1): 65-76.

Book Chapters

Hickman, J. and Webster, J. (In Press). 'Millenarianism' in The Oxford Handbook of the Anthropology of Religion by Robbins, J. and Coleman, S. (eds.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Webster, J. (In Press). 'Approaches through Materiality' in The Oxford Handbook of the Anthropology of Religion by Robbins, J. and Coleman, S. (eds.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Webster, J. (In Press). 'Geography as Eschatology: Prophecy Fulfilment on Land and at Sea' in Landscapes of Christianity by Bielo, J. and Ron, A. (eds). London: Bloomsbury

Webster, J. (2018). 'The Exclusive Brethren Doctrine of Separation: An Anthropology of Theology in Theologically Engaged Anthropology by Lemons, D. (ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Webster, J. (2015). 'Objects of Transcendence: Scots-Protestantism and an Anthropology of Things' in Material Religion in Modern Britain by Jones, T. and Matthews-Jones, L. (eds.) New York: Palgrave.