About the Author

I am a Re­se­arch As­so­cia­te (Post­Doc) at DIGITAL CULTURES RESEARCH LAB, Leuphana University, Lüneburg

A Po­lish-Ca­na­di­an so­cio­lo­gist, I re­cei­ved my doc­to­ral de­gree from the De­part­ment of So­cio­lo­gy at Lan­cas­ter Uni­ver­si­ty, working with John Urry and Mo­ni­ka Bu­scher on the way so­cia­li­ty is im­pac­ted by hy­per-mo­bi­li­ty. My main aca­de­mic in­te­rests in­clu­de mo­bi­li­ty, so­cia­li­ty and new me­dia, as well as the shift in mu­sic pro­duc­tion and con­sump­ti­on to­day.

Af­ter being ba­sed in the Eng­lish coun­try­si­de, I mo­ved to War­saw to work at the War­saw School of So­ci­al Sci­en­ces and Hu­ma­nities as well as with Do­mi­nik Ba­tor­ski at the In­ter­di­sci­pli­na­ry Cent­re for Ma­the­ma­ti­cal and Com­pu­ta­tio­nal Mo­del­ling, working on pu­blis­hing re­se­arch re­la­ted to so­ci­al net­wor­king prac­tices and so­ci­al ca­pi­tal.

After that, I con­duc­ted post-doc­to­ral re­se­arch at the Ha­fen­Ci­ty Uni­ver­si­ty in Ham­burg, ta­king on the task of hitch­hi­king, couchsur­fing, and stal­king stran­gers down at train sta­ti­ons in or­der to un­co­ver the low-cost trans­port is­su­es in­herent in in­ter-city tra­vel.

Besides working in all sorts of academic disciplines, I am also a pro­fes­sio­nal pop-folk mu­si­ci­an. Find me on sta­ge with the band Pau­la & Ka­rol.

Email me for a copy of my book at: bialski (at) leuphana.de


Education History

– Research Associate, Digital Cultures Research Lab, Luneburg (2013-Present)

– Postdoctoral Fellow, HafenCity University Hamburg (2012-2013)

– Doctoral candidate in Sociology, Lancaster University (2007-2011)

· Masters degree in Sociology, University of Warsaw, Poland (June 2007)

· Bachelor of Arts,University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. (September, 2004)


14 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Kathrin says:

    Hi Paula,

    just stumbled over your blog – well congrats for your MA! And your planning on doing a Ph.D. – hope you gave that a good thought! 😉 I was just in Budapest for a conference, where I met your “twin” – look a like! Wish you all the best!

    Kathrin (GOR07) – Internet and Integration…remember

  2. Sonja Buchberger says:

    Hi Paula,

    I have recently bought your publication ‘Intimate Tourism’. I have not finished reading it, but what I have read so far is really remarkable.

    I am a PhD student in Leeds (Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change) and I am also working on hospitality exchange networks. My geographical focus is on the Maghreb region (especially Tunisia and Morocco).

    Unfortunately we cannot meet up that easily since you are in Poland at the moment – as I was informed on your blog. Still I hope that there will be a possibility to meet up and exchange thoughts at one point or another.

    I am currently trying to connect (the few) people researching hospitality exchange networks and would like to ask if you are interested in participating. For the start, a mailing list would be helpful to spread information on what others are working on exactly, which articles they are publishing etc. Later on, this exchange will hopefully also lead to further (common) projects.

    At the moment, I know only of a few people doing research on hospitality exchange: Apart from you and me there are Dennis Zuev (sociologist at the Siberian Federal Univ.) and Jennie Germann-Molz (Assistant Professorin Worcester/US). Do you happen to know any other people working in this field?

    Before I forget: You can (of course) also have a look at my CS profile to get an impression of me.

    I am looking forward to hearing from you!


    • paulabialski says:

      Hey there Sonja! Sorry for not replying! How is your research going? Perhaps you’d be interested in this conference:

      There will be a panel on Couchsurfing which is being organized by by Jennie Germann-Molz.



    • Simon Mader says:

      hi there,

      I’m just starting my bachelors thesis on the alteration of our perception of reality by digital hosting networks.
      Are you two still in the matter, then please hook me up with any information you got please.

      Simon from Cologne

    • Sonja Steinacher says:

      Hi Sonja,
      I’m a student of the University of Vienna and I’m doing some research on my master thesis (Hospitality Exchange Services like CouchSurfing and the relevance of Trust). I am already in contact with Jennie Molz and I would appreciate if you could send me your contact.

      Thank you so much in advance and best regards from Vienna,

  3. Alayne says:

    Hi Paula
    I am organizing a session about Anthropology and CS for the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) meetings in Merida Mexico in March 2010.

    I would love for you to present on the panel. If you are interested, write me back or you can find me on CS or Facebook.

    I am one of the CS Ambassadors for Tampa and if you ever want to visit Florida just say the word!

  4. Doreen Chen says:

    Hi Paula,

    I am Doreen Chen, a PhD student in National Taiwan University. I am interested in the idea of CouchSurfing and trying to make a research proposal about it. In my opinion, hospitality exchange in tourism is great, but still a quite “Western” idea; even it is a global network. So, as an Asian researcher, I am interested in how this new type of travelling to be practiced for Asian Surfers and hosts, and how it influences the idea of “tourism” and “home” for them.
    In the process of searching the literature, I found that you have written a book about hospitality exchange. However, it is difficult to get the book here. So I would like to ask you that, if it is possible to ask you a copy through email? Or, could you give me a suggestion about how to get the book in Taiwan? Thank you very much! I am looking forward to your reply!!

    Ps.BTW, I also listen to your music…it is great! I love it. Actually I also have my own band (I am the vocal and play the folk guitar also). I am sure that we could be friends ‘cause we have much in common!


  5. Joanne says:


    I found your site while searching Google and have found your website information and advice to be a very good fit for our visitors. As such, we are interested in buying advertising space on your home page https://intimatetourism.wordpress.com/.

    Our budget is within $10/month. If you are interested, please send me your rate per month and PayPal information.

    If we are happy with your price we will send you the link details that you can place on your website and we will make the payments to the PayPal ID provided.

    Thanks for your time.



  6. María Eugenia says:

    Hi everyone! Im from Argentina Im starting a research at the University of Patagonia in Argentina, and Im on the tourism field. Im doing my thesis about Hospitality Philosophy inside of the social networks of CS and HC: Travelers and Tourist into the exchange process
    “La Filosofía de la Hospitalidad en las redes sociales: Viajeros y Turistas en el Proceso de Intercambio. Couch-Surfing y Hospitality-Club”
    And at least here in my country this a very weird and new way to travel, so actually I dont even have much material in my language, It is a big challenge for me.

    And Paula, your work is really inspiring.

    So people…if please count with me for exchange material and thoughts



  7. Bradley says:

    Hello Paula, judging by your postings, it seems like you should have finished your Ph.D. by now. I offer my tentative congratulations! How did you surmount all those moments of doubt, sloth, distraction, and procrastination? I am but a mere M.A. (at the University of Chicago), but I can feel your pain, and I hope you are now Dr. Bialski.

    I am writing because I wish to enter the strange bubble of academic CS researchers. In as few words as possible, I hope to look at the CS from contrasting perspectives: economics rational choice and the sociology and anthropology literature on gift giving practices. In your M.A. Thesis, you request contact from anyone intending to use your project as a resource. I would like to do so. Also, I wonder if there is a paper available for the work you did with Batorski, the work from whence that lovely poster was produced.

    If you still look at this blog (I will also send a message to your CS profile), please respond here, on CS, or by email (brturner@uchicago.edu). I look forward to hearing from you.

    Wishing well,

    Bradley Turner

  8. Hello Paula,

    I recently heard you speak about ‘Becoming Intimately Mobile’ on BBC Radio 4 and found it really interesting. I have just graduated with a BA in Design at Goldsmiths University. For my final year project I looked at Couch Surfing and similar home networking sites and and how Design can play a part in this growing trend. I did a lot of research by experiencing Couch Surfing firsthand and looked at the complexities of social etiquette and privacy.

    My outcomes for the project (Called ‘Domestic Tourism’) are on my website here:

    I wrote about my research here:

    Perhaps it would be of some interest. I look forward to reading your book.
    Emilie Sheehan

  9. Taz says:

    Hello Paula & Everyone Interested in the Idea of ‘hospitality networks’ or ‘couch-surfing’
    Briefly about myself, I’m a student of Tourism Management in Finland and have been aware and active with couch-surfing since 2yrs now, therefore I decided to take it up for my final yr bachelors thesis topic. Also It is my first time writing a thesis, so I’d appreciate any kind of help!

    At the moment I am slightly stuck and pondering what Interesting & straightforward statement can I make in order to get it accepted as a thesis topic!
    The following key words include: hospitality exchange network.. social media.. tourism anthropology.. couch surfing.. social exchange theory..analysis of couch surfers experience..couch surfing- a new trend.

    It all seems like a puzzle I guess, but I would really like to hear to your advice and Ideas which would be very helpful to give me a kick start and help me fix this puzzle. Perhaps some of my Ideas and research could be useful for you once I get done with my thesis and for sure I would appreciate your kindness. And since very few have done research on this topic, I’m glad I found this forum to discuss my query. Hoping to hear from you soon! My email: taz_22z@hotmail.com


  10. Maija & Melissa says:

    Hello Paula,

    We are two students from Södertörn University in Stockholm writing our bachelor thesis about Airbnb. We tried to find your contacts on your blog, but could unfortunately not find any email adress to you, therefore we decided to contact you here. While searching for valuable articles for our thesis, we came across your master thesis about Intimate Tourism. We thought it would be really useful for us and thought we should let you know about it since it says “DO NOT CIRCULATE – CONSULT AUTHOR WHEN CITING” in the document. So is it okey to cite you?

    Best regards, Maija & Melissa

  11. paulabialski says:

    Hey Maija and Melissa! Sure – of course you can use this! Although I suggest you just email me and I will send you my full book (which was my doctoral thesis and a much easier read!). Write me at bialski at leuphana.de

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