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Geographies of Welcome: Engagements with “Ordinary” Hospitality
  • ISSN: 2042-7913
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7921

Abstract

In the context of migration, hospitality is often analysed as a vertical power relation, in which hosts impose conditions and demands upon their guests. While acknowledging the drastically unequal structural power relations in which hospitality takes place, this article explores how these power relations can be mitigated and developed towards more reciprocal relationalities. To do so, it focuses on a specific form of hospitality: urban residents providing shelter to migrants who are illegalized1 by the state. Drawing on in-depth interviews with residents affiliated with the Brussels-based Citizens Platform for Support of Refugees2, I argue that their discourses and practices of hospitality – while being limited and imperfect – constitute alternative spaces of inclusion and affirmation, circumventing the Belgian State’s exclusionary stance. Combining Derridian hospitality framework with the feminist ethics of care lens, the article casts inquiry into the complexity and ambivalence of hospitality practices, seeing them not only as sites of power struggle but also as potential microcosms of social transformation. First of all, it illustrates how the feminist lens allows us to see hospitality acts as subjective practices, enabling a positive relationality towards the other. Secondly, it deliberates the potential for reciprocal exchange and resident hosts’ strategies to resist the verticality of hospitality relationships. Finally, it challenges the notion of regarding such practices as naïve by showcasing these practices’ political dimension.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • FWO Research Foundation Flanders fundamental research scholarship (Award 11H2522N)
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/content/journals/10.1386/hosp_00049_1
2022-06-01
2024-06-24
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