Valerio Simoni

Valerio SIMONI

Faculty Lead, Applied Research Projects (ARPs), Interdisciplinary Master
Visiting Professor, Anthropology and Sociology
Senior Research Fellow, Global Migration Centre
Research Associate, Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy
Spoken languages
English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan
Areas of expertise
  • Transnational mobilities
  • International migration
  • International tourism
  • Ethics and morality
  • Marginal livelihoods and informal economies
  • Gender, Sexuality and Intimacy
  • Politics of culture and identity
  • Heritage-making
  • (Post)socialism
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Latin America
  • Caribbean
  • Southern Europe


Valerio Simoni joined the Institute in 2014, and is currently Faculty Lead for the Applied Research Projects' part of the Interdisciplinary Master (MINT), Visiting Professor at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Senior Research Fellow at the Global Migration Centre, and Research Associate at the Albert Hirschman Centre for Democracy.

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 first monograph, Tourism and Informal Encounters in Cuba (2016) won the Nelson Graburn Book Prize (American Anthropological Association-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).

Valerio Simoni was the Principal Investigator for the European Research Council Starting Grant project "Returning to a Better Place: The (Re)assessment of the 'Good Life' in Times of Crisis" (BETLIV) (2018-2023). BETLIV focused 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), it explored the imaginaries and experiences of return of Ecuadorian and Cuban migrants, contributing 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. Building on BETLIV’s findings, Valerio Simoni current research project, “Moving Politics”, explores the nexus between mobilites and migration, digital media, and global political imaginaries and movements.

With teaching experience in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary programmes, Valerio Simoni has delivered courses in Portuguese, Spanish, French, and English at BA, MA, and PhD level as well as for continuous education and lifelong-learning programmes. His courses address topics in research design and ethnographic writing; intimacy, gender and sexuality; ethics and morality; the politics of culture, identity, and heritage; critical approaches to mobility and migration; tourism and hospitality. Since 2019, he has held the role of Academic Supervisor, promoted in 2023 to Faculty Lead, in the Applied Research Projects programme, partnering with International Organizations and NGOs (e.g. IOM, ILO, OHCHR, ITC, WFP, UNJIU, UNWTO, Save the Children, UNI Global Union), and mentoring students in policy-relevant, UN SDG informed research.



  • Ethnographic Writing

  • Critical Perspectives on Migration: Mobilities, Borders, and Transnational Connections

  • Anthropology and Tourism: Encounters through Difference and Inequality

  • Of Good and Evil: an Anthropology of Ethics and Local Moralities / Du bien et du mal: Anthropologie de l'éthique et des moralités locales

  • The Politics of Culture, Identity, and Heritage

  • Mobilities, Migration and Boundaries (MINT Applied Research Projects)




Journal Special Issues

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Book Chapters