Expressive labour and the gift of hospitality | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN: 2042-7913
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7921



The phenomenon of hospitality is difficult to understand and define, perhaps because of the transactional nature that pervades what is essentially a moral duty, but also, because of the multifaceted nature of commercial hospitality. While it is useful to separate the philosophical and functional aspects of hospitality, this study explores the potential for these to coexist in the feelings of hospitality providers about their work. Experiences of hospitality service are recorded and the motives and rewards for hospitality work explored using a phenomenological approach. Paid hospitality work is portrayed as distinct from normal reality, and experienced as a love–hate relationship with an addictive quality. The study finds that motives for providing both commercial and private hospitality are primarily intrinsic, as server-hosts seek pleasure by providing pleasure to others. The article concludes by proposing that providers of hospitality experience their roles as a form of self-expression, which motivates them to persevere, often enduring difficult working conditions.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): experience; hospitality; labour; motivation; performance; pleasure
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