Purpose – This paper aims to provoke discussion and reflection on the role of the erotic in the cultivation of spaces of hospitality, and to provide a theoretical consideration of the structural similarities of hospitality and eroticism. Design/methodology/approach – With reference to classical studies as well as debates in the social science literature, the paper starts by examining some of the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings to hospitality and eroticism. It then develops this analysis by considering examples drawn from ethnographic studies of “traditional” hospitality settings as well as of commercial hospitality environments of charter tourism. Findings – The main outcome of the discussion is to demonstrate the structural relations between hospitality and eroticism. By situating the analysis within a broad theoretical and ethnographic context, it is shown that the erotic has historically functioned as a socially‐binding and communicative mode of social intercourse that, while undermined by the demands of a market‐based culture of commercial hospitality, is also able to flourish within these same adverse conditions. Research limitations/implications – This paper invites further research into the connections between hospitality and eroticism in settings similar to and different from those described in the paper. A fuller ethnographic study of the relationship between the two is needed, as well as an exploration of more theoretical perspectives on hospitality drawn from the social science literature. Practical implications – By highlighting the socially binding role of eroticism in the structuring of host‐guest relations, the paper draws on and contributes to a broader politics of love and sensuality that will inform critical reflections on commercial and market‐driven hospitality practices. Originality/value – This paper provides an original insight into the interrelationship between hospitality and eroticism. It further illuminates previous writings on both subjects but particularly that of eroticism and is supported by empirical data. It is of particular interest to those studying hospitality from a social science perspective.
International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 14, 2007
Keywords: Hospitality; Eroticism; Love; Stranger; Transformation; Danger; Divinity; Senses
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