Lisa Spinelli holds a MA in Chinese Studies (Venice Ca' Foscari University, Beijing Normal University) and a MSc in Cultural Anthropology (Utrecht University). She is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at ISCTE and Nova FCSH University (Lisbon), and she is working as a researcher at CRIA (Centre for Research in Anthropology) and CCCM (Macau Scientific and Cultural Center). Based on practice theory, her research focuses on the differential agencies at play in the (re)production of ways of being-in-the-word. Through a phenomenological approach, she examines the intersections between grassroots expressive practices (as music), ontological systems, and micro-political activities. She explores these as individual and collective creative responses to dynamics of governmentality in cultural contexts dominated by hegemonic political actors, with a focus on the effects of globalization. Her geographical areas of expertise are Eastern Asia (south-western China, Tibet) and Mediterranean Europe (Portugal). In the past years, she conducted ethnographic research in Yunnan (China) and in Lisbon (Portugal). In the first case, she studied the connections between the landscape and the religiosity of Naxi people under the influence of Chinese environmentalist policies. In the second, she explored the musical and religious practices of a group of young fado musicians living in Lisbon, a southern-European capital in full touristic boom. Today, she is conducting a research on Tibetan folk music and religiosity in Nepal, focusing on Chinese censorships as well as on the commodification of ethnic music, and on their long lasting effects over people’s ways of interpreting reality and perceiving their future.

Personal identification

Full name
Lisa Spinelli

Citation names

  • Spinelli, Lisa

Author identifiers

Ciência ID

Email addresses

  • lispinelli@hotmail.it (Professional)
  • lsiai@iscte-iul.pt (Professional)

Knowledge fields

  • Social Sciences - Sociology - Anthropology
  • Humanities - Languages and Literatures - Specific Languages


Language Speaking Reading Writing Listening Peer-review
Italian (Mother tongue)
English Proficiency (C2) Proficiency (C2) Proficiency (C2) Proficiency (C2) Proficiency (C2)
Portuguese Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1)
Chinese Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1)
Spanish; Castilian Upper intermediate (B2) Upper intermediate (B2) Upper intermediate (B2) Upper intermediate (B2) Upper intermediate (B2)
French Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1)
Degree Classification
2021/09/20 - 2025/08/31
Doutoramento em Antropologia (Doutoramento)
Major in Cultural and Social Anthropology
ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal

Universidade Nova de Lisboa Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Portugal
2019/08 - 2021/08
Cultural Anthropology: Sociocultural Transformations (Master)
Major in Cultural Anthropology
Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands
"Spirituality in Contemporary Europe: Popular Beliefs and Practices among Portuguese Fado Practitioners." (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
2021/03 - 2021/06
Euro-Mediterranean Intercultural Trends" (Postgraduate Certificate)
Major in European cultures and international relations
Unione delle Università del Mediterraneo, Italy

Anna Lindh-biblioteket, Sweden
2021/03 - 2021/05
Seminar series: "Interfacing the (In)Formal City" (Postgraduate Certificate)
Major in Urban Anthropology
Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands
2016/08 - 2018/11
Languages and Civilizations of Asia and Mediterranean Africa (Master)
Major in Chinese Studies (Linguistics, History and Culture)
Università Ca' Foscari, Italy
"The Relational Landscape of Xinzhucun's Naxi People: An Anthropological Study of a Rural Village of North-Western Yunnan." (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
110 cum laude
2013/09 - 2018/11
DEA Seminars (Demo-Ethno-Anthropological disciplines) (Master)
Major in Cultural and Social Anthropology
Università Ca' Foscari, Italy
2015/08 - 2017/07
Teaching Chinese to Students of Other Languages (Master)
Major in Chinese Linguistics, Comparative Cultural Analysis
Capital Normal University, China
"Traditional Values in Contemporary Chinese Fairy Tales: A Cross-Cultural Perspective." (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
2012/08 - 2015/07
Languages and Cultures and Societies of Asia and Mediterranean Africa (Bachelor)
Major in Chinese Studies (Linguistics, History and Culture)
Università Ca' Foscari, Italy
"The Long (Chinese Dragon) as a Symbolic Figure in Ancient China." (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
110 cum laude
2014/08 - 2015/01
Course in Chinese Language (Bachelor)
Major in Linguistics
Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China


Host institution
2020/09 - Current Visiting Researcher (Research) Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia, Portugal


Host institution
2018/11 - 2019/02 Assistant examiner in the department of Social Anthropology Università Ca' Foscari, Italy
2017/05 - 2017/09 Cultural mediator in Venice's International Art Exhibition (Chinese language) Università Ca' Foscari, Italy


Online resource
  1. Spinelli, Lisa. Nunca o Fado foi tão saudade como agora: The Spirituality of Fado during the Pandemic.. 2021. https://aries.aibr.org/articulo/2021/20/3622/nunca-o-fado-foi-tao-saudade-como-agora-the-spirituality-of-fado-during-the-pandemic.
  2. Spinelli, Lisa. Lisbon and the Pandemic: Urban (In)Formal Structures and Practices. 2021. https://urbaninterfaces.sites.uu.nl/lisbon-and-the-pandemic-urban-informal-structures-and-practices/.
Thesis / Dissertation
  1. Spinelli, Lisa. "The Relational Landscape of Xinzhucun's Naxi People: An Anthropological Study of a Rural Village of North-Western Yunnan.". Master, Università Ca' Foscari, 2018.

Oral presentation

Presentation title Event name
Host (Event location)
2021/07/27 "Nunca o Fado Foi Tão Saudade Como Agora": The Spirituality of Fado During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Humanity: Unity and Diversity. 7th AIBR International Conference of Anthropology.
AIBR Ibero-American Anthropologist Network (Vila Real, Portugal)
2021/05/15 Fado Music and Contemporary Spirituality NAR (Network for the Anthropology of Religion) Seminar Series
CRIA (Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia) (Lisbon (online), Portugal)