Dr Paul O'Connor
Senior Lecturer (Sociology)
Originally from Devon I was awarded my PhD in Sociology from the University of Queensland in 2009. I have taught Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sociology at Lingnan University, and Religious Studies at Charles University, Prague. I am chiefly a sociologist of religion but explore area studies, ethnicity, and lifestyle sports. I have written extensively on Hong Kong society performing research with the Muslim community and working on issues of ethnicity. My first book Islam in Hong Kong explored thelives of Muslims in Hong Kong. I hold strong interests in pilgrimage exploring both the Hajj and secular sacred spaces. My work on the sociology of skateboarding has included collaborating with the Pushing Boarders project and the completion of my second monograph Skateboarding and Religion.
My current research continues to explore the sociology of skateboarding and is focal on issues of Lifestyle Religion. Some of my papers are available online via ResearchGate. Please contact me if you would like access to any of my journal articles and chapters.
Also on Google Scholar.
I am a qualitative sociologist with interests in the sociology of religion, cultural hybridity, and lifestyle sports. Much of my work has also been involved in Hong Kong studies where I have focussed on issues of ethnicity. One of my key interests is the sociology of skateboarding.
Presently my research is focussed on the following themes:
- Sociology of Skateboarding
- Lifestyle Religion
- Secular Pilgrimage
- Hong Kong Studies
- Ethnicity in Hong Kong
- Cultural Hybridity
- Quantum Sociology
External impact and engagement
- University of Skate: A conversation with Professional Skateboarders Candy Jacobs and Margeilyn Didal with Sander Holsgens, Lingnan University Sociology Seminar Series, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, February 12th 2019.
- Skateboarding and Wellbeing: Roundtable and Workshop. Lingnan University. February 26 2016. Funded by the department of Sociology and Social Policy at Lingnan University and the Sino-British Fellowship grant. 29 February 2016.
- The Role of Southeast and SouthAsian Migrants’ Religions in Hong Kong. Southeast Asian Research Centre, CityU HK, April 27 2013. Organised with Dr Chiara Formichi.
- Traces of Failure in Skateboarding. Brief article for Flow Journal. 6 February 2022. https://www.flowjournal.org/2022/02/failure-in-skateboarding/
- Skateboarding in middle age: ‘It helps me switch off’, Coverage of research and brief interview in The Guardian, 7 January 2022.
- Skateboarding in middle age helps people navigate depression, bond with their children and gain 'spiritual meaning', study finds, Coverage of research in Daily Mail online and Print, 4 January 2022, 5 January 2022, pg 3.
- Depressed in midlife? Try skateboarding, study suggests, Coverage of research in New York Post, 4 January 2022.
- A new study shows that skateboarding can help middle aged people with depression, BBC Radio Devon, 22 December, 2021
- Its time for UK Universities to take skateboarding seriously, Opinion piece in Times Higher Education, 13 August 2021.
- Olympic skateboarding celebrates the sport’s fraternity and joy, Opinion piece on HKFP, 3 August 2021.
- Skateboarding in Olympics Interview with Gordon Sparks, BBC Radio Devon, 28 July 2021.
- Olympic Skateboarding Interview, Times Radio, 26 June 2021.
- When Myths Collide: Skateboarding and the Olympics Interview with Brian Glenney and Noora Ronkainen, The Meaningful Sport Podcast, 23 July 2021.
- The Sociology of Skateboarding Interview, The Sociology Show Podcast, 5 July 2021.
- Skateboarding Through the Pandemic talk - part of the Festival of Ideas workshop, Festival of Discovery, University of Exeter, 3 June 2021.
- Skateboarding and Religion (and Music) with Paul O'Connor, Interview on A Tranquil Passage Podcast, 6 May 2021.
- ‘Street phenomenology:’ sensing street spots for skating, sleeping, selling, and spraying, Uncommon Senses III 2021, Sunday May 3 2021. With Professor Brian Glenney.
- Proselytizing Skateboarding through a Videogame: Possibility Models & Lifestyle Religion, blog post on Popular Culture and Theology, September 21, 2020.
- Is Skateboarding a Religion?, Interviewed for Artless Industria blog by Anthony Pappalardo, February 28, 2020
- Can Skateboarding be a Religion?, Authored essay for Jenkem Magazine, 18 December 2019.
- Skateboarding as a Lifestyle Religion, Talk for Prague Religious Society, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Charles University, Prague, 12 December 2019.
- Hong Kong’s Minorities Face Racism From Police and Protesters, Consulted and quoted in article, Foreign Policy, November 7 2019.
- Citizenship under siege in Hong Kong, Conference paper, State-Citizenship Relations in Greater Central Asia, Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, October 18 2019.
- Sacred Spots: Defining Heritage in Skate Culture, Invited panel member, Pushing Boarders Malmö, Sweden, August 17, 2019
- Radio interview on University of Skate Seminar, RTHK Morning Brew with Phil Whelan, February 11th 2019
- Can Skateboarding Save Your City? Interviewed for article, Huck Magazine, September 2018.
- Do you realise this is a Chinese School?: Expat Experiences of Enrolling in Chinese Schools in Hong Kong, Talk at the Hong Kong Anthropological Society, Friday 14th September 2018. With Dr Julien Groves.
- Skateboarding Mega-Events As Preparation for the 2020 Olympics: A Case Study of the Vans Park Series Championships in Shanghai, presented paper at ISA XIX World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, July 18, 2018.
- Feng shui, fortune-tellers and zodiac signs: young Hongkongers seek solace in superstition . Interviewed for news article, South China Morning Post, 7 July 2018.
- What we do is Secret: The Challenge of Writing About Skateboarding. Invited panel member and chair in Early Career Forum, Pushing Boarders conference, The Bartlett, UCL, London, 1-3 June 2018.
- “Lessons from Skateboarding” Youth Hong Kong (2018) Volume 10, 1. 19-21
- “Do you Realise this is a Chinese School?’, Invited talk CUHK Anthropology, Friday Seminar, 20 November, 2017.
- Hong Kong Skateboarding and Network Capital, Hong Kong Political Science Association Annual Conference, Hang Send Management Colleges, Hong Kong, 21 October 2107.
- Participant Speaker on Skateboard Philanthropy, Manyminds Hk Meetup 2, Cheung Sha Wan, The Good Lab, 27 May 2017.
- Overview of Skateboarding Research: Academic Workshop on History, Politics & Sociology of Sports in the Greater China, The Education University of Hong Kong, 18 May 2017.
- Exploring Halal food in Hong Kong, Pleasure, Providence and Purity: An International Conference on Food and Drink in Islamic Societies and Cultures, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 27-28 April, 2017.
- Dialogues in Research: Routes Roots,, and Rhythms, Cultural Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 21 April 2017.
- The Relevance of Skateboarding to Hong Kong’s Urban Culture. Imagining the Future Conference, CUHK, 23-24 February 2017.
- Invited Key Note on Ethnicity and Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong, and Workshops on Feeling Ethnic, Li Po Chun United World College, Peace Day, 15 February 2017.
- Coming of Age: Over 40 and Still Skateboarding. Hong Kong Sociological Association Conf, Hong Kong University, 4 December 2016
- Will You Eat Pork? Hong Kong Free Press, Guest Contribution, 10 May 2016.
- An Overview Of Hong Kong’s Muslim Community, Diversity in Hong Kong: Exploring the Ethnic, Cultural and Religious Dimensions, (Workshop). Shue Yan University, 29th April 2016.
- A Message for all at HK’s Annual Muslim Meeting, South China Morning Post, (cited in article), 24 April 2016.
- Skateboarding and Wellbeing: Roundtable and Workshop. Lingnan University. February 26th 2016. Funded by the department of Sociology and Social Policy at Lingnan University and the Sino-British Fellowship grant. (included the participation of Professor Iain Borden, Dr Jon Swords, Representatives from the LCSD and NGOS).
- Why Don’t Skateboarders Wear Helmets? Hong Kong Sociological Association Conf, Shue Yan University, 5 December 2015.
- Raising Global Citizens: Expatriate Parents and Cantonese Language Education in Hong Kong (With Dr Julian Groves). Hong Kong Sociological Association, Shue Yan University, 5 December 2015.
- In Hong Kong, a crowded restaurant, a death unnoticed and ‘McRefugees’, Interviewed of article in The Washing Post,Yannan Wang, 6 October 2015.
- Wan Chai Skate and Create - Intergenerational Living, Architectural Design Studio, CUHK, Autumn 2015. Acted as client for project.
- The Pakistani Community in Hong Kong, Multiculturalism in Action Workshop, CUHK, 26 September 2015.
- Interview Dr Paul James O’Connor, Sk8 O’Clock Podcast, 10 July 2015.
- Eat Me Drink Me: A Discussion of Size and Embodiment, Between Monumentalism and Miniaturization Conference, Cultural Studies, CUHK, 11 June 2015.
- The Anthropology of a Skatepark, Transatlantic Connections II, Drew University at Bundoran Ireland, 6 January 2015.
- The Understanding of Space by South Asian Youth in Hong Kong Invited Speaker, IN/EX Urban Lab, CUHK,16 December, 2014.
- How Does One Feel Ethnic? Invited Speaker Feeling Ethnic Symposium, Baptist University, 15–17 October 2014.
- Morning Brew Radio Show, RTHK 3, 25 August 2014.
- Ethnic Conflict and Inequality in a Global Perspective Brown International Advanced Research Institute, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, June 7 to June 21 2014.
- Creative Arts and Education with Indonesian Foreign Domestic Workers Institute of Future Cities, Public and Community Art Talk Series, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2 April 2014.
- Islam in Hong Kong Ask a Muslim Radio Show, RTHK DAB31, 11 January 2014.
- The Changing Cosmopolitan Rhythm of Hong Kong China in the World, the World in China: East Asian Cosmopolitanisms, Hong Kong Sociological Association Annual Conference, 6 December 2013.
- The Hajj: The Modern Pilgrimage to Mecca and Stories from Hong Kong Pilgrims Hong Kong Anthropological Association, Hong Kong Museum of History, 16 October 2013.
- Pilgrimage to Mecca Interview Morning Brew Radio Show, RTHK 3, 15 October 2013.
- Education for Minorities Backchat Radio Show, RTHK 3, 25 September 2013.
- Islam in Hong Kong: Muslims and Everyday Life in China’s World City New Books in Islamic Studies online discussion, 20 September 2013.
- Rhythms of the Modern Hajj: From Hong Kong to Mecca and BackIslamic Civilization in Multiple Perspectives, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 13 September 2013. (Conference Programme)
- Muslims in Hong Kong Serving Islam at the Peak Conference, 20 April 2013.
- Muslims in Hong Kong and Everyday Hybridity Speaking Out! Female Filmmakers from Muslim Countries, Cultural and Religious Studies Department Chinese University of Hong Kong, 23 March 2013.
- Hong Kong’s Anomaly in the Anthropology of Islam in China Asian Studies Association Hong Kong Conference, HKIE, 8 March 2013.
- Islam in Hong Kong Interview Hong Kong Heritage Radio Show, RTHK 3, 28 January 2013.
- Lack of Chinese Skills a Barrier for Minorities Interview SCMP, 14 January 2013.
- The Status of Muslims in the Minority Politics of Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club, Hong Kong, 14 January 2013.
- Morning Conversations “Islam in Hong Kong” Anatolia Cultural Dialogue Centre, 17 November 2012.
- Muslim Feel Free in HK but Left Out Interview SCMP, 30 September 2012.
- Ethnic Minorities, Islam in Hong Kong Interview on Morning Brew RTHK 3, 5 September 2012.
- Islam and Everyday Life in Hong Kong: Religious Practice, Ethnicity, and Belonging Friday Seminar Series, CUHK Anthropology Dept, Hong Kong, 13 April 2012.
- Islam in Hong Kong Hong Kong Anthropological Society, Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong, 10 November 2011.
- Muslims in Hong Kong Interview on Morning Brew RTHK 3, 8 November 2011.
- The Ambiguity of Halal Food in Hong Kong Association of Cultural Studies Crossroads Conference, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, 17 July 2010.
- Learning to be Muslim: Muslim Youth and Everyday Multiculturalism in Hong Kong International Conference on Migration, Citizenship and Intercultural Relations, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, 19 November 2009.
- Everyday Hybridity of Young Muslims in Hong Kong Pedestrian Crossings: Youth and Everyday Multiculturalism, Monash Research Centre, Prato, Italy, 9 June 2008.