Dr Paul O'Connor
Originally from Devon I was awarded my PhD in Sociology from the University of Queensland. I have taught Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sociology at Lingnan Univerity, 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 the the lives 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. You can also keep up to date with my projects via my website.
- (2020) Skateboarding and Religion, Palgrave MacMillan
- (2012) Islam in Hong Kong: Muslims and Everyday Life in China’s World City, Hong Kong University Press, 2012.
- (2010) The Modern Hajj: Themes of Modernity, The Saudi State, International Pilgrims, and the British Experience, Lambert Academic Publishing,. (not peer reviewed).
- (2020) Chinese Women Skateboarders in Hong Kong: A Skatefeminism Approach, International Review for the Sociology of Sport. doi: 10.1177/1012690220928735 With Clara Fok.
- (2020) Towards Inclusive Skate Scholarship and Activism, Urban Pamphleteer: #8 Skateboardings, 3-5, ISSN 2052-8655,
- (2019) Whiteness out of Place: White Parents encounters with Schooling in Post-Colonial Hong Kong, The Sociological Review doi: 10.1177/0038026119865861 Co-authored with Julian M. Grooves.
- (2019) Skateparks as hybrid elements of the city. Journal of Urban Design, with Glenney, B., 1-16. doi:10.1080/13574809.2019.1568189
- (2018) Hong Kong Skateboarding and Network Capital. Journal of Sport and Social Issues. doi: 10.1177/0193723518797040.
- (2018) Esteemed, dismissed and everyday hybridity. Social Transformations in Chinese Societies. doi: 10.1108/stics-06-2017-0012.
- (2017) Handrails, steps and curbs: sacred places and secular pilgrimage in skateboarding, Sport in Society, doi: 10.1080/17430437.2017.1390567
- (2017) Negotiating Global Citizenship, Protecting Privilege: Western Expatriates Choosing Local Schools in Hong Kong, British Journal of the Sociology of Education, doi: 10.1080/01425692.2017.1351866. Co-authored with Julian M. Groves.
- (2017) Beyond the Youth Culture: Understanding Middle-Aged Skateboarders through Temporal Capital. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. doi: 10.1177/1012690217691780.
- (2018) Rhythmanalysis as a tool in social analysis on ethnicity in Hong Kong. Asian Ethnicity, Vol 19 (1) pp. 1-15. doi: 10.1080/14631369.2017.1292118
- (2016) Skateboarding, Helmets, and Control: Observations from Skateboard Media and a Hong Kong Skatepark. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 40(6), 477-498. doi:10.1177/0193723516673408
- (2015) Introduction: Special Edition on Overlooked Religion, Asian Anthropology, Vol 14 (1) pp. 3-7. Co-authored with Chiara Formichi.
- (2015) Hong Kong Muslims Representation in Cantonese Media: An Oriental Orientalism, Asian Anthropology, Vol 14 (1) pp. 67-78. Co-authored with Raees Baig.
- (2014) Hong Kong Muslims on Hajj: Rhythms of the Pilgrimage 2.0 and Experiences of Piety among 21st Century Global Cities, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 1-15.
- (2013) Applying Hybridity: Rhythms of the Hajj, Tumblr, and Snowden. Glocalism Journal, Vol 1, pp. 1-16, DOI 10.12893.
- (2011) Everyday Hybridity and Hong Kong’s Muslim Youth, Visual Anthropology, Vol 24 (1), pp. 203-225.
- (2010) Accepting Prejudice and Valuing Freedom: Young Muslims and Everyday Multiculturalism in Hong Kong, Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol 31 (5), pp. 525-539.
- (In Press) Hong Kong and Scalable Cultural Security, Minorities in their own lands: Cultural Security among Ethnic and Cultural Minorities in Asia, edited by Jarmila Ptáčková and Ondrej Kilmes.
- (In Press) Over 40 and Still Skateboarding: Identity and Wellbeing in the Older Skateboarder, Lifestyle Sport and Identity, edited by Tyler Dupont and Becky Beal, Routledge.
- (In Press) Women's attitudes to race in Hong Kong skateboarding, in Sports in Hong Kong, edited by Tobias Zuser and Lawrence Ka Ki Ho, Peter Lang
- (2018) Ethnic Minorities and Ethnicity in Hong Kong, in The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Hong Kong, edited by Tai Lok Lui, Stephen Chiu and Ray Yep
- (2017) How Does One Feel Ethnic?, in Feeling Ethnic: Visuality, Emotions, and Minority Culture, edited by John Erni, Springer. pp. 11-26,
- (2015) Skateboard Philanthropy: Inclusion and Prefigurative Politics, in Skateboarding: Subcultures, Sites and Shifts, edited by Kara Jane Lombard, Routledge, pp. 30-43.
- (2015) Hong Kong Muslims 2014: A Report on Current Research in the Territory, in The Localisation of Islam in China, edited by Li Chang-kuan, CUHK Press.
- (2012) Everyday Hybridity and Hong Kong’s Muslim Youth, in Hybrid Hong Kong, edited by Chan Kwok -bun, Routledge, pp. 250-272.
- (2020) Theology and the Marvel Universe, edited by Gregory Stevenson, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, DOI 10.1080/21504857.2020.1796727
- (2018) Gregory J. Snyder: Skateboading LA: Inside Professional Street Skateboarding, Critical Crimininology, DOI 10.1007/s10612-018-9385-z.
- (2013) Watched and Watching: Liquid Surveillance, by Zygmunt Bauman and David Lyon, Cultural Studies, 28 (2), pp. 352-355.
- (2013) Patients and Agents: Mental Illness, Modernity and Islam in Sylhet, Bangladesh by Allyson Callan, Asian Anthropology, 11 (2). pp. 78-80.
- (2012) Bauman Pours Out Culture: Review of “Culture in a Liquid Modern World” by Zygmunt Bauman, Cultural Studies Review, 18 (1). pp. 263-266.
- (2011) Youth Identity and Migration: Culture, Values, and Social Connectedness ed. Fethi Mansouri, Journal of Intercultural Studies, 32 (1). pp. 91-106.
Seminars and Workshops Organised
- 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.
Conferences, Presentations and Media (Select)
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.
‘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.
Can Skateboarding be a Religion?, Authored essay for Jenkem Magazine, 18 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.
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 Seng 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.
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
- Ethnicity in Hong Kong
- Quantum Sociology