Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli

Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli


I obtained by PhD from Lancaster University and then, after holding temporary lecturing and research posts at Lancaster and the University of Central Lancashire, I became a permanent Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Kent from 2004 to 2007. I joined the University of Leeds in September 2007 as a Lecturer before being promoted to Associate Professor in 2013.


  • Director of BA Hons Sociology

Research interests

My research can be defined as a form of applied social and cultural theory with emphasis on the ‘grounded’ refinement of general concepts and theories. I draw inspiration from many disciplines to hybridise sociological theory and practice, however the analytical core of my work is always sociological. My main theoretical focus has been the ways globalisation and the rise of hyper-mobility systems have changed our perceptions and material organisation of society and culture. This involves an investigation of phenomenologies of mobility, with particular reference to technology-mediated and embodied forms of travel and tourism, but also how cultural industries such as film and tourism manipulate images and atmospheres to make and remake places and cultures.

Heritage in the digital era 

Slumdog Millionaire

Book Cinematic representations of risk

The Plight of Development

Thus, empirically, this tri-valent project (structure-system-agency) considers intersections of media and tourism (‘cinematic tourism’, digital tourism) with individual and collective perceptions and makings of the world (society and its cultures). Theoretically, it investigates how such intersections trigger socio-cultural change (or not), as well as the ways the local survives in global cultural spaces (or not); the governmentality of art; the marketization of memory in new knowledge economies; and the role of mythology and collective performance in cultural politics. Moving from questions of nation-building to audio-visual forms of travel and digital tourist environments in global deregulated contexts allowed for more synthetic explorations of collective imaginaries – both synchronically and diachronically.


socio-cultural mobility

Economies of the imagination

In a similar vein, I have an established interest in mega-events (e.g. Olympic Games) as post-industrial impositions on entrenched lifeworlds acting as hosts to such mega-events. This empirical focus is coupled with an interest in ‘event’ theories of time and space in the context of late capitalist development. Another theoretical angle involves the analytical and empirical (contextual) relationship between tourism (e.g. mega-event tourism) and hospitality as a norm and a practice (e.g. the impact event development has on host cultures).

magical realism sociologies of belonging and becoming

My ongoing research and publications on these issues articulate a comparative cultural sociology. This considers how world centres and peripheries choose or are compelled to ‘develop’ culturally and infrastructurally. Using again blends of phenomenology, the morphogenetic approach, ecoaesthetics, decolonial discourse and theories of hospitality, I address how globally mobile professionals (artists and policy-makers) contribute to the development and/or production of culture and location, as well as how their contribution is received or rejected by localities, nation-states and global activist networks. This line of investigation connects to questions of mobilities of design, justice and the cultural political economy of development.

An extensive list of my research interests is provided on academia.edu and ResearchGate and a full list of publications can be found on the White Rose database.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in History, Lancaster University
  • MA in Historical Research, Lancaster University
  • BA Hons in History, Archaeology & Anthropology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • PGCHE/CILTHE, Stage I, Lancaster University
  • PGCHE/CILTHE, Stage II, University of Kent

Professional memberships

  • British Sociological Association
  • International Sociological Association

Student education

I contribute to both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in Sociology. I sit in various committees, including the STSEC, where I contribute to the shaping of programme policy.

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>