Doctor Alex Norman

Doctor Alex Norman

Senior Lecturer in Higher Education,
Graduate Research School


Alex completed his doctorate at the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney in 2010. Since then he has lectured at the Department of History and Philosophy at the University of New South Wales, and the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at the University of Western Sydney before returning to the University of Sydney from 2012-2014. He has taught subjects focussing on religions since 2006, including units on Classical Hinduism, Witchcraft, Paganism, the New Age, and Christianity in the Middle Ages. In 2008 he was awarded the Faculty of Arts Teaching Excellence Award, and in 2011 was a finalist for the Rita and John Cornforth Medal for PhD excellence and contributions to the University community.

He currently works in the Graduate Research School teaching the core units for the Master of Research degree where he is able to engage one of his passions in life; research knowledge translation. 

Alex’s central research interests focus on the confluence of travel practices and religious practices. His book Spiritual Tourism (Continuum 2011) examines the intersection of travel and secular spiritual practice by contemporary Westerners. He has published on the Camino de Santiago, World Youth Day, and on the religious dimensions in Olympic tourism. His other main research interest is in new religious movements. In 2010 he published the first scholarly article on the group Great Freedom (now known as Balanced View), and in 2012 he co-edited the Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production (Brill 2012) with Prof. Carole M. Cusack.

Recently Alex learned the supreme joy of coding and fell in love with the R programming language. He has just had a paper accepted in Psychological Methods on network analysis of codes applied to interview material. The R code for the network analysis was written by Alex and his co-author Dr Jennifer Pokorny.

He is currently co-Editor of the International Journal for the Study of New Religions, and the Managing Editor of the Journal of Sociology.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Norman.


  • PhD University of Sydney

Professional Memberships

  • The Australian Association for the Study of Religion (2006)

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Graduate Research School


Phone: (02) 9685 9701
Mobile: 0408744567
Location: ED.G.15

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • 800166 Research Design 1: Theories of Enquiry, 2016
  • 800167 Research Literacies, 2016
  • 800169 Research Design 2: Practices of Research, 2016



  • Norman, A. (2011), 'Spiritual Tourism: Travel and Religious Practice in Western Society', : Continuum 9781441150448.

Chapters in Books

  • Norman, A. (2019), 'Tourism', The Bloomsbury Handbook to Studying Christians, Bloomsbury Academic 9781350043381.
  • Norman, A. (2014), 'Travel and new religious movements', Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements, Bloomsbury 9781441190055.
  • Norman, A. (2014), 'Material culture', Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements, Bloomsbury 9781441190055.
  • Norman, A. (2013), 'The turn East : 'new' religious consciousness and travel to India and after Blavatsky', Journeys and Destinations: Studies in Travel, Identity, and Meaning, Cambridge Scholars 9781443847537.
  • Norman, A. (2012), 'Cosmic flavour, spiritual nutrition? : the biodynamic agricultural method and the legacy of Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy in viticulture', Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production, Brill 9789004221871.
  • Norman, A. (2010), 'Tourism', Religion and Everyday Life and Culture, Praeger 9780313342783.

Journal Articles

  • Pokorny, J., Norman, A., Zanesco, A., Bauer-Wu, S., Sahdra, B. and Saron, C. (2018), 'Network analysis for the visualization and analysis of qualitative data', Psychological Methods, vol 23, no 1 , pp 169 - 183.
  • Norman, A. and Pokorny, J. (2017), 'Meditation retreats : spiritual tourism well-being interventions', Tourism Management Perspectives, vol 24 , pp 201 - 207.
  • Norman, A. (2012), 'The varieties of the spiritual tourist experience', Literature and Aesthetics, vol 22, no 1 , pp 20 - 37.
  • Norman, A. and Cusack, C. (2012), 'The religion in Olympic tourism', Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, vol 10, no 2 , pp 124 - 136.
  • Norman, A. (2011), 'Celebrity push, celebrity pull : understanding the role of the notable person in pilgrimage', Australian Religion Studies Review, vol 24, no 3 , pp 317 - 341.
  • Norman, A. and Johnson, M. (2011), 'World Youth Day : the creation of a modern pilgrimage event for evangelical intent', Journal of Contemporary Religion, vol 26, no 3 , pp 371 - 385.
  • Norman, A. (2010), 'Great Freedom and the concept of awareness : reading an ambiguous new religious movement through the lenses of Gergen, Giddens, and Lyon', International Journal for the Study of New Religions, vol 1, no 2 , pp 161 - 181.
  • Norman, A. (2009), 'The unexpected real : negotiating fantasy and reality on the road to Santiago', Literature and Aesthetics, vol 19, no 2 , pp 50 - 71.


Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Soft skills in health services management: Perceptions of students, graduates, academics and industry on their importance
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Blue Mountains Aboriginal Astronomy
Field of Research:


Title: The Spiritual Side of Travel
Description: God Forbid - ABC Radio National

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