Chontida Poonpipat


St Antony’s College

Educational Background:

I completed my BBA in International Business Management (1st class Hons) at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and MA in Socio-cultural Anthropology (Distinction), at Durham University, UK

Research Interests: 

My research interests are social anthropology, anthropology of Buddhism, meditation, Theravada Buddhism and politics.


I am conducting fieldwork research on Thai Theravada Buddhist meditation practices in Britain.

Traditional Thai meditation is little documented, while they reflect a greater range and diversity of techniques with histories going back centuries. They offer very distinctive features including a greater focus on physical transformation and on the attainment of deep meditative states.

Thai meditation includes both old and new forms, demarcated by a radical shake-up during the colonial period that caused once-popular pre-modernisation methods to be less emphasised. Yet Britain, with its early reception of a variety of Thai traditions beginning in the 1950s, as well as its combination of secular, Diaspora and convert practice groups, is an obvious place to conduct research on these practices, both to understand Buddhist practices and communities, and in order to expand the spectrum of meditation traditions available to future researchers.

My project is supervised by Professor Kate Crosby and Professor David Gellner and funded by Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP studentship.