Valerio Simoni

Valerio SIMONI

Spoken languages
English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan
Areas of expertise
  • International tourism
  • International migration
  • Informal economy
  • Ethics and morality
  • Gender, Sexuality and Intimacy
  • Politics of culture and identity
  • (Post)socialism
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • South America
  • Caribbean


Valerio Simoni joined the Institute in 2014, and is currently Senior Research Fellow in Anthropology and Sociology and the Global Migration Centre. His doctoral and postdoctoral investigations focused on the economic, social, and cultural flows generated by international tourism and migration, with theoretical interests spanning three main areas of concern: the economy and its margins, the transformations of intimacy, and the politics of mobility. His monograph, Tourism and Informal Encounters in Cuba (2016) was awarded in 2018 the Nelson Graburn Book Prize (AAA-ATIG). A social anthropologist by training (MA University of Neuchâtel, PhD Leeds Metropolitan University), he has held research and teaching positions in the UK, Portugal, and Switzerland. Between 2014 and 2018, he co-convened the Anthropology and Mobility Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA).
In 2017, Valerio Simoni was awarded a five-year European Research Council Starting Grant for the project "Returning to a Better Place: The (Re)assessment of the 'Good Life' in Times of Crisis" (BETLIV). BETLIV focuses on how ideals of a “good life” are articulated, (re)assessed, and related to specific places and contexts as a result of experiences of crisis and migration. A multi-sited endeavor (Spain, Ecuador, Cuba), this research explores the imaginaries and experiences of return of Ecuadorian and Cuban migrants, and contributes to three main scholarly areas of enquiry: 1) the study of morality, ethics, and what counts as a “good life”, 2) the study of the field of economic practice, its definition, value regimes, and “crises”, and 3) the study of migratory aspirations, projects, and trajectories.





  • 2016. Tourism and Informal Encounters in Cuba. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books. (Nelson Graburn Book Prize, AAA-ATIG)

Journal Special Issues

  • 2018. Ethnographier les affects: Captures, résistances, attachements. Special Issue of Tsantsa 23 (Carine Plancke and Valerio Simoni)
  • 2015. Masculinities in Times of Uncertainty and Change. Special Issue of Etnografica 19(2) (Valerio Simoni and Adriana Piscitelli)
  • 2014. Friendship, Morality, and Experience. Special Issue of Suomen Antropologi 39(1) (Valerio Simoni and Jason Throop)
  • 2014. Tourism and Transformation: Negotiating Metaphors, Experiencing Change. Special Issue of Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 12(2-3) (Sofia Sampaio, Valerio Simoni, and Cyril Isnart)

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • 2018. Approaching Difference, Inequality, and Intimacy in Tourism: A View from Cuba. Journal of Anthropological Research 74(4): 503-525.
  • 2018. Informal Guiding: Enacting Immediacy, Informality and Authenticity in Cuba. Ethnologia Europaea 48(2): 14–27.
  • 2018. Sex, Seduction, and Care for the Other in Touristic Cuba. Téoros: Journal of Tourism Research 37(2):1-17.
  • 2018. Business, Hospitality, and Change in Cuba’s Private Tourism Sector: A View from Casas Particulares in Viñales. Tourism Planning and Development 15(3): 293-312.
  • 2016. Economization, Moralization, and the Changing Moral Economies of “Capitalism” and “Communism” Among Cuban Migrants in Spain. Anthropological Theory 16(4): 454-475.
  • 2016. Ethnography, Mutuality, and the Utopia of Love and Friendship in Touristic Cuba. Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford 8(1): 143-167.
  • 2015. Intimacy and Belonging in Cuban Tourism and Migration. The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 33(2): 26-41.
  • 2015. Breadwinners, Sex Machines and Romantic Lovers: Entangling Masculinities, Moralities, and Pragmatic Concerns in Touristic Cuba. Etnografica 19(2): 389-411.
  • 2014. The Morality of Friendship in Touristic Cuba. Suomen Antropologi 39(1): 19-36.
  • 2014. From Tourist to Person: The Value of Intimacy in Touristic Cuba. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 12(3): 280-292.
  • 2014. Coping with Ambiguous Relationships: Sex, Tourism, and Transformation in Cuba. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 12(2): 166-183.
  • 2013. Intimate Stereotypes: The Vicissitudes of Being Caliente in Touristic Cuba. Civilisations: Revue internationale d’anthropologie et de sciences humaines 62(1-2) : 181-197.
  • 2009. Scaling Cigars in Cuba’s Tourism Economy. Etnografica 13(2), 417-438.
  • 2008. From Ethnographers to Tourists and Back Again: On Positioning Issues in the Anthropology of Tourism. Civilisations 57(1-2): 173-189. (Valerio Simoni and Scott McCabe)
  • 2008. Shifting Power: The (De)Stabilization of Asymmetries in the Realm of Tourism in Cuba. Tsansta 13: 89-97.

Book Chapters

  • 2018. True Love and Cunning Love: Negotiating Intimacy, Deception and Belonging in Touristic Cuba. In Intimate Mobilities: Sexual Economies, Marriage and Migration in a Disparate World. Christian Groes and Nadine Fernandez (eds.), pp. 189-212. Oxford and New York: Berghahn.
  • 2017. Hosts and Guests. In The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Travel and Tourism. Linda L. Lowry (ed.), pp. 618-621. London: Sage.
  • 2015. Shaping Money and Relationships in Touristic Cuba, In Tourism Encounters: Ontological Politics of Tourism Development. René van der Duim, Carina Ren, and Gunnar Thór Jóhannesson (eds.), pp. 21-38. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • 2012. Dancing Tourists: Tourism, Party and Seduction in Cuba. In Emotion in Motion: Tourism, Affect and Transformation. David Picard and Mike Robinson (eds.), pp. 267-281. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • 2012. Tourism Materialities. Enacting Cigars in Touristic Cuba. In Actor-Network Theory and Tourism: Ordering, Materiality and Multiplicity. René van der Duim, Carina Ren, and Gunnar Thór Jóhannesson (eds.), pp. 59-79. London: Routledge.
  • 2011. L’interculturalité comme justification: Sexe “couleur locale” dans la Cuba touristique. In Anthropologies de l’interculturalité. Anne Lavanchy, Fred Dervin, and Anahy Gajardo (eds.), pp. 197-225. L’Harmattan: Paris.
  • 2009. Tra “amicizia” e “interesse”: La negoziazione di relazioni nell’ambito di incontri informali tra turisti e Cubani. In Scenari Turistici. Chiara Cipollari (ed.), pp. 75-89. Roma: CISU, Centro d’Informazione e Stampa Universitaria.
  • 2008. “Riding” Diversity: Cubans’/Jineteros’ Uses of “Nationality-Talks” in the Realm of their Informal Encounters with Tourists. In Tourism Development: Growth, Myths and Inequalities. Peter Burns and Marina Novelli (eds.), pp. 68-84. Wallingford, Cambridge Ma: CAB International.