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Dr Pau Obrador Pons

Senior Lecturer

Department: Newcastle Business School

I was born on the island of Menorca in 1976 and studied Sociology in the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) graduating in 1998. I continued my studies with a Doctorate Training programme in Human Geography at the same university, where I developed my interests in cultural geography and tourism. I pursue this interests through an ESRC funded PhD at the University of Durham. My doctoral research on mass tourism was supervised by Mike Crang and included ethnographical fieldwork in hotels and beaches in the island of Menorca.

After completing my PhD in 2004, I worked as a lecturer in human geography at the University of Exeter before joining the University of Sunderland in 2007 as lecturer in Tourism. At Sunderland I took up several roles including Research Cluster leader. I arrived at Northumbria University in October 2015 to take up a Senior Lectureship in Human Geography.

I am a member of the Menorca Research Institute where I coordinate a tourism research network. I regularly write political commentary in the Menorca newspaper and also in and My personal interests include capoeira, hill walking, Catalan literature and world cinema. 

Campus Address

Room 212, City Campus East,


  • Geography PhD April 01 2005
  • Sociology BA (Hons) May 25 1998
  • Senior Fellow (SFHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2015

Research Themes and Scholarly 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.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • A Freegan Pop-up Café, Obrador Pons, P. 1 Jan 2020, In: Hospitality and Society
  • Festive traditions and tourism in Mallorca, Vives Riera, A., Obrador Pons, P. 30 Aug 2019, In: Tourist Studies
  • The end of sustainability? A note on the changing politics of mass tourism in the Balearic Islands, Obrador Pons, P. 2017, In: Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events
  • Inèrcies, Dissonàncies i canvis del turisme a menorca [Inertias, dissonances and changes in tourism in Menorca], Obrador Pons, P. Nov 2016, Anuari del Turisme de les Illes Balears 2016, Palma, Fundació Gadeso
  • L'endemà Postnacional, Obrador Pons, P. 20 Apr 2015, I si Passa que ens passa? Mallorca, Menorca, Eivissa i Formentera davant la independència de Catalunya, Maó, Arrela
  • Modern mass tourism, by Julio Aramberri, Obrador Pons, P. 2015, In: Journal of Tourism History
  • The nomadic village, Wilson, S., Obrador, P. 1 Dec 2013, Travel, Tourism and Art, London, Ashgate Publishing Ltd
  • The Nomadic Village: Communal creativity and political subversion in temporary settlements, Wilson, S., Obrador Pons, P. Dec 2013, Travel, Tourism and Art, Farnham, Ashgate
  • The Place of the Family in Tourism Resarch: Domesticity and thick sociality by the pool, Obrador Pons, P. 2012, In: Annals of Tourism Research
  • Touching the Beach, Obrador Pons, P. Oct 2012, Touching Space, Placing Touch, Farnham, Ashgate


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