Search type

Social Anthropology

Guilherme Fians

Thesis title

Citizens of the World: Negotiating and juggling identities and engagements amongst Esperanto speakers

Project description

My current research focuses on how Esperanto speakers and participants of the Esperanto movement deal with this language and the ideals attached to it in their everyday lives.

Esperanto is an international auxiliary language whose fundamentals were created in the late nineteenth century, and nowadays some surveys consider that there are around two million speakers of Esperanto worldwide. It is intended to be a neutral and secular language which would not replace national languages, being used only for international communication. Apart from being a planned language, Esperanto has also developed a movement, a culture and a set of cosmopolitan ideas.

By doing fieldwork within two of the most important and active associations related to Esperanto in Europe, I intend to explore and draw upon the diversity of the Esperanto movement, the way these groups and associations relate to each other and how its speakers deal with the language and its ideals, emphasising the way they cope with the notions of universalism and neutrality and how they consider themselves as part of the same, widespread speech community.

Research interests

  • anthropological theory
  • nationalism, antinationalism, universalism and cosmopolitanism
  • globalisation
  • Social movements
  • interlinguistics, language policies and language planning
  • Political anthropology
  • children and childhood


  • 2015-Present: PhD Social Anthropology, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 2013-2015: MA Social Anthropology, Museu Nacional - Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2009-2013: BA Social Sciences, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Selected publications

  • 2017. O Esperanto Além da Língua [Esperanto Beyond the Language]. Porto Velho: Temática Editora.
  • 2015. Sobre contar e ouvir verdades e mentirinhas: Considerações sobre narrativas a partir de livros infantis e brincadeiras em uma sala de aula [On telling and listening to truths and make-believes: Considerations on narratives from children’s books and plays in a classroom]. Boitatá 20, 68-88.
  • 2015. Entre Crianças, Personagens e Monstros: Uma Etnografia de Brincadeiras Infantis [Among Children, Cartoon Characters and Monsters: An Ethnography of Children's Play]. Rio de Janeiro: Ponteio Edições.
  • 2013. An Anthropology beyond Culture and Society: Interview with Christina Toren. Revista Habitus 11:1, 178-189.
  • 2012. Cidadãos do Mundo: Uma discussão sobre o Nacional e o Internacional no Esperanto. [Citizens of the World: A debate on National and International features in Esperanto] Revista Habitus 10:1, 50-63.


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