HRAF Global Scholar: Antonio Velasco

Global Scholars Program

HRAF Global Scholar: Antonio Velasco, Ph.D.
Title: Adjunct Instructor
University Affiliation: Universidad de Los Andes
Research Topic: Anthropology of the Paranormal and Psychology of Moral Reasoning

Antonio Velasco is a practicing lawyer in Venezuela and an adjunct instructor at Universidad de Los Andes where he earned a Ph.D. in Education (2008). Prior to that he earned a M.Sc. in Political Science (1995) from Universidad Simón Bolívar. The title of his doctoral dissertation is “Prosocial moral reasoning through dialogue in high school students”. The dissertation dealt with the moral reasoning among teenagers. Antonio is a researcher in social sciences who takes an interdisciplinary approach to his studies. His main interests are in the realms of educational psychology, moral reasoning, teaching styles, and prosociality. 

Antonio has worked in higher education, and also as a member of the editorial boards of several journals in the social sciences. Since 1993, he has published 42 papers in academic journals from seven countries (Colombia, Argentina, México, Venezuela, Chile, Spain, and the United States). In the realm of anthropological research, his work has been focused on the anthropology of belief systems and the anthropology of the paranormal, sometimes knows as paranthropology.

According to Antonio, studies of the paranormal must always be critically examined through the scientific method, and a scientific approach implies the search for both the structure (variables plus indicators) and the dynamics (mechanisms, and the consequent possibility for predictions). He is currently developing three main lines of inquiry about this branch of anthropology:

  1. Formal analysis and representation of the structure of the paranormal,
  2. Formal analysis and representation of the dynamics of the paranormal.
  3. The analysis of paranormal rituals and its transformations (creation, change, disappearance, etc.)

Antonio is utilizing eHRAF World Cultures for ethnographic research on two topics: the anthropology of the paranormal (rituals, beliefs, and structures) and the psychology of moral reasoning. His interest in eHRAF World Cultures arises from the need to analyze the rituals of the paranormal in different cultures in order to compare their elements in common, their mechanisms, and change over time. Antonio states, “This opportunity to access the HRAF databases is unique and a very important opportunity for getting access to an extraordinary anthropological multicultural data set.”

HRAF is honored to welcome Antonio Velasco as one of our HRAF Global Scholars for 2023. We wish him continued success with his research.

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