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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.



Research interests

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

My research is also invested in the Grey Spaces pardigm of research on skateboarding's material and symbolic conceptualisation. This was spearheaded in the collaborative paper Skateboarding in the Anthropocene.

I am currently engaged with BA/Leverhulme Trust funded research into older skateboarders in the UK (SRG23\231468) from September 2023 -2025. 


External impact and engagement

 Recent Impact
  • As Part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences I conencted my research on skateboarding and mental health to organise a community film screening event on (01/11/23). The Lands End film deals with skateboarding and suicide prevention in connection with the Ben Raemers Foudnation, and follows professional skateboarder and Exeter local Barney Page as he skateboards across the nation in support of his friend Ben Raemers who died by suicide in 2019. This event was covered on regional TV, and was featured in an article in National press, the Guardian Newspaper. (22/10/23)
  • I visited Inverness in connection to my research and participated as a Discussant at the Mental Health and Skateboarding Film Screening, A Different Gravitation, at Eden Court Inverness, (15/10/23). This community event engaged in outreach with skateboarders in the local community and mental health workers.
Seminars and Workshops Organised
Conferences, Presentations and Media (Select)














  • 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.

2011 & prior

  • 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.


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