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.




Journal Special Issues

Peer-Reviewed Articles

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.