Pau Obrador Pons

Senior Lecturer

Research interests

My research is positioned at the intersection of tourism, place, culture, body and management. It is widely credited within tourism studies for its conceptual and methodological innovations and in particular for repositioning tourism in light of post-structuralist thinking. Underpinning my work is a post-disciplinary concern for the centrality of tourism and events within contemporary societies as well as the significance of humanities and social sciences concepts and skills for tourism policy and management.   My key research interests lie in five key areas:

My highest impact publications examine the significance of homeliness, familiriaty and the everyday in tourism . My main contribution in this area is the development of Heidegger’s notion of dwelling in tourism,  which was published in Tourist Studies in 2003. I have also developed theoretical constructs that are sensible to the familiar character of tourism in a article for Annals for tourism research. I am currently working on an article on caravan homes with sharon Wilson and on a project on the cultivation of homeliness in the sharing economy within the context of oturism

Another important concern running through my work is the nature of embodiment in tourism, focusing in particular on haptic articulations of the sensible. My work on the beach is credited to be one of the first to explore the sensibilities of touch in tourism. In 2007 I published “A Haptic Geography of the Beach: Naked Bodies, Vision and Touch” in Social and Cultural Geography, and in 2009 “Building Castles in the Sand: Repositioning Touch on the Beach” in Senses and Society. I also have a book chapter in Touching space, Placing touch

A third area of interest is my research on island and coastal tourism. My work in this area, which spans from emotional geographies of the beach to tourism policy, focuses on mass tourism and its impact on Mediterranean Modernities. In 2009 I co-edited a book on Cultures of Mass Tourism, which sets out to demonstrate the cultural significance of mass tourism as well as the significance of mass tourism to mass culture. I have also published a short paper on sustainable tourism policies in the Balearic Island, which I am planning to develop further.

My fourth and most recent theme is concerned with the transformative nature of cultural events.  I recently published an article in tourist studies on the transgressive potential of Invented rural traditions in Mallorca with Antoni Vives. I have been involved in various artistic projects that explore the creative and transformative qualities of travel and tourism. I have a short paper in Cultural Geogrpahies on Tactical Tourism with Sean Carter and a chapter on the Nomadic Village project with Sharon Wilson.

My final research interest is in critical pedagogies and research rich learning. I have recently published an article in Hospitlaity & Society that presents a student-led pedagogical innovation that enacts hospitality as a critical tool. This article builds on a longstanding interest in creative forms of learning that break with the classical transmission model as well as critical thinking, which I have explore mainly within the context of fieldtirp practice. I am currently developing new research oppoortunities in this area.

Organisational affiliations

Education/Academic qualification

  • PhD, Geography, Durham University

    Tourism as Dwelling: an Ethnography of the Practices, Bodies and Places of Mass Tourism in Menorca

    1 Oct 2000 - 30 Sep 2004
  • BA (Hons), Sociology, Autonomous University of Barcelona

    1 Oct 1994 - 1 Jun 1998

Professional Qualifications

  • Senior Fellow (SFHEA), Higher Education Academy (HEA)

    12 Oct 2015 -