Skip to main content

Social Anthropology:


Maya Mayblin

Maya Mayblin
Dr Maya Mayblin
5.22 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD

Research Interests

  • Ritual, religion, morality
  • Christianity, particularly Catholicism
  • The politics and economics of sacrifice/ sacrificial discourse
  • Religious dissent, schism and social change
  • Children, childhood, child labour
  • Sex, gender, and personhood
  • Northeast Brazil and Latin America

PhD Supervision

I welcome enquiries from students interested in any of my research fields.

Biographical statement

Maya Mayblin works on politics, personhood, gender, morality, and the history and practice of popular Catholicism in Northeast Brazil. She earned her PhD in anthropology at the London School of Economics in 2005, and worked as an applied medical anthropologist at King's College, London before joining Social Anthropology at Edinburgh. Her current research is on sex, schism, and the priesthood, and has involved fieldwork among Brazilian priest-turned-politicians, and the Women's Ordination Movement. Maya is working on a second monograph, tentatively entitled 'Fathers of the Polluted Realm', exploring the politics of Catholic sacrifice, and its role as the object of competing theological and gendered discourses, in local contexts and on the global stage. 

Books & Special Issues

2013. The Other Side of Sacrifice: new anthropological approaches. Ethnos.

2010. Gender, Catholicism, and Morality in Brazil: Virtuous Husbands, Powerful Wives New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.


Forthcoming. People Like Us: intimacy, distance, and androgyny of saints. Current Anthropology.

2014. Unreal Brazil. Anthropology of This Century, Vol.10.

2013. When God Talks Back About When God Talks Back. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 3 (3): 381–87.

2013. The Other Side of Sacrifice. Ethnos. Vol.78, No.3: 1-12 (with Magnus Course).

2013. The Untold Sacrifice: the monotony and incompleteness of self-sacrifice in Northeast Brazil. Ethnos. Vol.78, No.3: 342-364.

2013. The Way Blood Flows: the sacrificial value of intravenous drip use in Northeast Brazil. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Special Issue Blood Will Out: S42-56. 

2012. The Madness of Mothers: agape love and the maternal myth in Northeast Brazil. American Anthropologist, Vol.114, No.2: 240-252.

2011. Death By Marriage: power, pride and morality in Northeast Brazil. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 17: 135-153

2010. Learning Courage: Child Labour as Moral Practice in Northeast Brazil. Ethnos, 75(1): 23-48.

2008. Ethnicity and Registration as a Donor: the significance of identity and belonging. Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 66, No.1: 147-158 (co-authored with M. Morgan and R. Jones)

2006. Attitudes Towards Kidney Donation and Registering as a Donor Among Ethnic Groups in the UK. Journal of Public Health, Vol.28, No.3: 226-234 (co-authored with M. Morgan and R. Jones)