Conducting Strangers: Hospitality and Governmentality in the Global City

  • Dan Bulley
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations Series book series (PSIR)


Hospitality is as much about control as it is about welcome. Offering, granting, receiving, experiencing or refusing hospitality always involves the exercise of power and constraint as well as a potential ethics and freedom. Indeed, the seemingly contradictory elements, which some speak of as ethics and politics, cannot be separated: ‘The apparently incompatible pair are doomed to cohabit, unhappily, chaotically, because that tension is precisely what hospitality is about’.1 This defiance of reason, its incapacity to be conceptualised as simply one thing or the other, has been well observed by contemporary explorations of the concept.2 While Jacques Derrida is right to claim that because it has to do with the ethos ‘that is the residence, one’s home, the familiar place of dwelling… the manner in which we relate to ourselves and to others, to others as our own and as foreigners, ethics is hospitality’, this is not the end of the story. As he goes on to say, being at home with oneself ‘supposes a reception or inclusion of the other which one seeks to appropriate, control, and master according to different modalities of violence’.3 Few treat hospitality without an eye to its attendant hostility.4 Yet there has been little sustained analysis of the power relations, the appropriation and control involved in practices of hospitality. What types of power are being exercised in this encounter between a ‘host’ and a ‘guest’?, and how does this work to reconfigure, confuse and disturb the actions and experience of ‘hosting’ and ‘guesting’? How does it affect the material experience of global hospitality?


World City Creative Industry Shared Space Global City Creative Class 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Dan Bulley 2013

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  • Dan Bulley

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