At home in mobility: ethics of hospitality and belonging
(P25)
Location D
Date and Time 10th December, 2008 at 08:30

Convenors

Hazel Tucker (University of Otago) htucker@business.otago.ac.nz
Donna Keen (University of Otago) dkeen@business.otago.ac.nz
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Short Abstract

Aiming to explore ideas of hospitality and belonging within a highly mobile world, this panel considers ways in which contested notions of home, belonging, host and guest are negotiated and performed within and across various sites of house, region and nation.

Long Abstract

Notions of home have become increasingly complex within a highly mobile world (Jackson 1995; Morley 2000). Historically, the western notion of home as a fixed, permanent location has been used as a colonising mechanism to appropriate the spaces of the colonised. For example, the practice of Terra Nullius signified land as without ownership regardless of the presence of nomadic groups. However, in a post colonial context in which increased mobility has continued to displace and transform the notion of home, the ethics of belonging has increasingly been called into question. Subsequently, also, notions of host and guest are increasingly reconfigured and contested. The panel thus seeks to address questions such as: Where do the bounds of hospitality lie?; Who decides or has the right to claim sovereignty in order to offer or create the home?; How are citizenship and national identity materialised through appropriation of spaces and what are the ethical implications of claiming a home to host?; Within settler societies who can be host and who is guest?

Contributions to this session will engage with issues of home and hospitality such as the use of land and resources within a post colonial context and the performance of individual acts of hospitality. The panel thus aims to provide opportunity to explore ways in which contested notions of home, belonging, host and guest are negotiated and performed within and across various sites of house, region and nation.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Leaving home for home: southeast Asian boarders and their conceptions of home

Author: Wee Loon Yeo (University of Western Australia) yeow03@student.uwa.edu.au

Short Abstract

Abstract

In 2007, I carried out ethnographic research on a group of Southeast Asian international students who have called St Andrew's Grammar School, a private all boy's boarding school in Western Australia, their home away from home. The boarding school, located in an affluent, leafy suburb appeared to be a cynosure of multicultural harmony, where the students live highly regulated lives. The research sought to find out how international students came to terms with cultural differences and positioned themselves in a complex environment such as a boarding school. Conversations revealed that this highly mobile group of students were constantly confronted with the dilemma of belonging and where home was for them. For these boarders, 'home' became as Baldassar (2001) describes, a shifting centre which does not stabilise. Hence, this centre was wherever the boarders were not.

Drawing on my experiences in the fieldsite, I discuss the international students' search for 'home' and their gradual acceptance of calling the boarding house a place where they belong. This discussion will also explore the boarders' reaction to cultural differences and its influence on their demarcation of home.

'The Philippines welcomes you!' - hospitality as industry; sex tourism and expatriation in a Filipino community

Author: Rosemary Wiss (Macquarie University) rwiss@scmp.mq.edu.au

Short Abstract

Hospitality and belonging are complexly articulated in a Filipino community which is home to a sex tourism industry and an expatriate population. Foreign men seek harmonious gender relationships and sense of community and belonging. They have, however, entered into networks of intricate political and kinship connection, and disconnection.

Abstract

In national tourist promotions the Philippines is represented as having a history of welcoming strangers with Filipinos excelling in hospitality. Colonial history muted, foreign tourists are welcomed to the ongoing cultural mix with hospitality represented as unconditional. Derrida (2000) argued that unconditional hospitality is impossible, to be hospitable it is necessary to have the 'mastery' to host others, to deny particular visitors and to close off boundaries (ibid: 151). It is this tension that makes for the potentiality of hospitality; hospitality contains the notion of inhospitality. This paper considers the ways hospitality and belonging are articulated, and circumscribed, in a Filipino community which is home to a sex tourism industry and a foreign male expatriate population. It argues that in the sex tourism economy is produced out of foreigners' desires for an uninscribed island Utopia, imagined as uninhabited except for the necessary extras - the welcoming natives and accommodating women. Some foreigners who came for the transient and anonymous experience of sex tourism have married and produced children entering into enduring and intimate kinship relations. These marriages occur between two kinds of outsiders - foreign men and non-local bar-girls or 'stranger women'. Hence, while foreign men seek harmonious gender relationships and a more traditional sense of community and belonging they have entered into networks of multifaceted and intricate political and kinship connections - and disconnections.

The Shuf mountains as 'Junblatt's place'. Hospitality and the political construction of regional estates in Lebanon

Author: Isabelle Rivoal (CNRS) isabelle.rivoal@mae.u-paris10.fr

Short Abstract

This paper engaged with a discussion on regional space and State in Lebanon It questions the presumed linkage between communal leaders and particular places where controlling a stronghold is no longer about owing the land and subjecting sharecroppers to the landlord's domination.

Abstract

During the war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, scores of Shi'as endangered by Israeli bombings in South Lebanon fled from their homes to the north. Thousands sought refuge in the Shuf mountains, a traditionally mixed Christian-Druze area, where they are said to have been "welcomed by Walid Jumblatt" the Druze leader.

This paper questions the presumed linkage between communal leaders and particular places in present-day Lebanon where controlling a stronghold is no longer about owing the land and subjecting sharecroppers to the landlord's domination. My main focus is to explore the range of sociological patterns that constructs Junblatt's unchallenged appropriation of a territory he does not legally own.

I will demonstrate how the space is politically constructed in the Shuf and how most of the significant relationships there revolve around Mukhtara, the alleged sacred place where the Junblatt have been living for more than 300 years. Moreover, when people say that "Walid Junblatt is the door of the Shuf", they express the very idea that the entire region is a private place for Junblatt and that, as the "lord of the house", he is the only one entitled to display hospitality.

The concluding part of this presentation will address the 2006 situation that failed to challenge Junblatt's legitimacy in the Shuf. Indeed, some of the "guests" claimed to be labelled as "refugees" instead of "guests" asserting that they were previous owners of the place or proclaiming that resistance and Lebaneseness were the real notions at stake here.

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High country hospitality

Author: Donna Keen (University of Otago) dkeen@business.otago.ac.nz

Short Abstract

This paper deals with the way in which the notions of host and guest are subverted and questions the ethics of providing hospitality.

Abstract

The notion of home is often centred on ownership of land. Therefore, in these cases the person or group occupying the land can argue or be seen to have the greatest legitimacy to claim belonging and the right to perform the role of host. This paper deals with the debate over land ownership within the High Country pastoral land of the South Island, New Zealand. The tenure of this land is held by pastoral farmers who claim not only a legal but cultural connection to the land (Dominy 1995) However; the land is rented on a long term lease from the government. The government is currently reviewing the current tenure, as a result of increasing pressure from other groups who desire greater access and protection of the land. This example illustrates a political process by which various groups try to legitimatise their right to belong and hence have greater access to the land. Contributors to this debate often utilise examples of acts of hospitality performed by them or for them to reflect the right to belong. This paper hence deals with the way in which the notions of host and guest are subverted and questions the ethics of providing hospitality.