Pau Obrador Pons

Senior Lecturer

Research interests

My engagement with tourism and events draws on post-disciplinary concerns about their centrality both within contemporary societies and the social sciences, along with an awareness of the growing relevance of tourism and events in transnational times. My research to date has focused on four main themes.

My highest impact publications explore the cultures of tourism and are theoretical in nature, repositioning of tourism in light of post-structuralist thinking. My main contribution in this area is the development of Heidegger’s notion of dwelling into tourist studies. This 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 writing with prof Mike Crang, a textbook, Tourist Studies: the Basics, which translates new approaches to tourism to a wider public

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 recently submitted a short policy paper to Annals of Tourism Research. The  paper  raises  important  questions,  which  will  be  followed  up  in  future  publications,  concerning  the fragility of sustainable tourism agendas, the contested politics of mass tourism and the restructuring  of  mature  destinations.

My fourth and most recent theme is concerned with constructions of place identity in cultural events. I have been involved in various artistic projects that explore the creative and transformative qualities of travel and tourism. I have also published in this area, with one paper in Cultural Geographies with Sean Carter from the University of Exeter and a chapter with Sharon Wilson on the Nomadic Village project for a book on Art and Tourism. I am currently working on a paper on festivals, tourism and the quest for local identity with Antoni Vives from the University of Barcelona.

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 -