Stafford, Charles

Professor Charles Stafford  


Position held

Asia Research Centre

Department of Anthropology

Professor of Anthropology

Experience keywords:

ritual; cognition; social anthropology; Taiwan; religion; cognition; anthropology of learning; China; economic psychology; child development; learning and nationalism

Research summary > [Click to expand]

Charles Stafford is a specialist in the anthropology of China and Taiwan. His research has focused primarily on child development, learning, kinship, religion and economics. He is also interested in the relationship between anthropology and philosophy. Professor Stafford’s first major fieldwork project was conducted in the late 1980s in a Taiwanese fishing community where he examined the relationship between nationalist schooling and Taiwanese popular religion. In the early 1990s he began to conduct research in mainland China on issues related to kinship, religion, and Chinese historical consciousness. During this research, he became especially interested in rituals and practices of "separation and reunion," which help to structure the flow of social life in rural communities. More recently, Professor Stafford has conducted fieldwork, funded by the ESRC, on learning and economic life in rural China and Taiwan. He is currently developing a collaborative research project with colleagues at Nanjing University which will focus on economic life from a cognitive anthropological perspective.

Countries and regions to which research relates:

Taiwan; China

Media experience:


Contact Points

LSE phone number:

+44 (0)20 7955 6241


LSE Research Online, Funnelback Search


Stafford, Charles (2013) Introduction: ordinary ethics in China today In: Stafford, Charles, (ed.) Ordinary Ethics in China Today. LSE monographs on social anthropology. Bloomsbury Academic, London, UK. ISBN 9780857854599

Stafford, Charles (2013) Some good and bad people in the countryside In: Stafford, Charles, (ed.) Ordinary Ethics in China. LSE Monographs on Social Anthropology Series . Bloomsbury Academic, London, UK. ISBN 9780857854599

Stafford, Charles, ed (2013) Ordinary ethics in China LSE monographs on social anthropology. Bloomsbury Academic, London, UK. ISBN 9780857854599


Stafford, Charles (2012) Misfortune and what can be done about it: a Taiwanese case study Social Analysis, 56 (2). 90-102. ISSN 0155-977X


Stafford, Charles (2011) Living with the economists Anthropology of This Century (1).

Stafford, Charles (2011) Book review: What Confucius would make of it: governing educational desire: culture, politics and schooling in China By Andrew Kipnis and drink water, but remember the source: moral discourse in a Chinese village By Ellen Oxfeld Anthropology of This Century, 2. ISSN 2047-6345


Stafford, Charles (2010) Some qualitative mathematics in China Anthropological Theory, 10 (1-2). 81-86. ISSN 1463-4996

Stafford, Charles (2010) The punishment of ethical behaviour In: Lambek, Michael, (ed.) Ordinary Ethics: Anthropology, Language, and Action . Fordham University Press, New York, UK, 187-206. ISBN 9780823233175


Stafford, Charles (2009) Numbers and the natural history of imagining the self in Taiwan and China Ethnos, 74 (1). 110-126 . ISSN 0014-1844


Stafford, Charles (2008) Linguistic and cultural variables in the psychology of numeracy Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 14 (s1). 128-141. ISSN 1359-0987

Stafford, Charles (2008) Actually existing Chinese matriarchy In: Brandtstädter, Susanne and Santos, Gonçalo D., (eds.) Chinese Kinship: Contemporary Anthropological Perspectives. Routledge Contemporary China Series. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, Abingdon, UK, 137-153. ISBN 9780415456975


Stafford, Charles and Astuti, Rita and Parry, J. P, eds (2007) Questions of anthropology London School of Economics monographs on social anthropology, 76. Berg, London, UK. ISBN 9781845207496

Stafford, Charles (2007) What is interesting about Chinese religion In: Sarro, Ramon and Berliner, David, (eds.) Learning Religion: Anthropological Approaches. Methodology and history in anthropology, Vol.17. Berghahn Books, Oxford, UK, 177-190. ISBN 9781845453749

Stafford, Charles (2007) What is going to happen next? In: Astuti, Rita and Parry, Jonathan and Stafford, Charles, (eds.) Questions of Anthropology. London School of Economics monographs on social anthropology (76). Berg, Oxford, UK, 55-76. ISBN 9781845207489


Stafford, Charles (2006) Deception, corruption and the Chinese ritual economy In: Latham, Kevin and Thompson, Stuart and Klein, Jacob, (eds.) Consuming China: Approaches to Cultural Change in Contemporary China. ConsumAsian series. Routledge, London, UK, 42-55. ISBN 9780700714025


Stafford, Charles (2004) Introduction: Learning and economic agency in China and Taiwan. Taiwan Journal of Anthropology, 2 (1). 1-10. ISSN 1727-1878

Stafford, Charles (2004) Two stories of learning and economic agency in Yunnan Taiwan Journal of Anthropology, 2 (1). 171-194. ISSN 1727-1878


Stafford, Charles (2003) Living with separation in China: anthropological accounts RoutledgeCurzon, New York, US. ISBN 0415305713

Stafford, Charles (2003) Language and numerical learning in rural China and Taiwan Terrain, 40. 65-80. ISSN 1777-5450


Stafford, Charles (2000) Separation and reunion in modern China Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9780521784344

Stafford, Charles (2000) Chinese patriliny and the cycles of Yang and Laiwang In: Carsten, Janet, (ed.) Cultures of Relatedness: New Approaches to the Study of Kinship. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 35-54. ISBN 9780521656276


Stafford, Charles (1999) Separation, reunion and the Chinese attachment to place In: Internal and International Migration: Chinese Perspectives. Chinese worlds, Vol. 1. Curzon Press, London. ISBN 9780700710768

Expert Image

The book examines the kinds of moral and ethical issues that emerge (sometimes almost unnoticed) in the flow of everyday life in Chinese communities.

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