Let me welcome you to planet hospitality.
It is populated by real people who, in the process of civilisation, socially construct the phenomena and practice of hospitality without boundaries within their respective communities. Scientists visit, invade and/or infiltrate the planet to boldly go where no man has gone before. They explore and construct a bounded knowledge universe of hospitality phenomena and practice. This allows for disciplined, scientific investigation, search for intelligence and professional education within an academic frame of reference. This planet represents a migration from the previous business and management microcosmic planet of hospitality. We have entered an expanded galaxy of inter-related dimensions. They have been established as sufficiently massive to be grounded in the gravity of hospitality studies, structured within the universe of society, and attracting the professional allegiance of academics.
A requirement to effect this planetary migration is the reconstruction of the hospitality academic universe from new fundamentals. By necessity, this changes some of its elementary theoretical generalisations, methods and applications. ‘Beamed up’ to planet hospitality, ‘scientists see new and different things when looking with familiar instruments in places they have looked before. It is rather as if the professional community had been suddenly transported to another planet where familiar objects are seen in a different light and are joined by unfamiliar ones as well’. Kuhn also asserts that as a consequence: ‘the scientist’s world is qualitatively transformed as well as quantitatively enriched by fundamental novelties of either fact or theory’.
The business and management planet of hospitality was right for its time, and the knowledge created retains and displays intellectual integrity. The academic enterprise there supplied the valuable foundations, scope and potentialities that have opened up a galaxy to allow the discovery of the new planet. These advances have contributed to a ‘teleportation’ to the universe of hospitality studies, as the academic community increasingly sensed both the inadequacies and malfunction of business and management confines, and the excitement of travelling through society, space and time in the never-ending search for knowledge. Benefits of such travels are aptly illustrated in the 2007 text Hospitality: a social lens where, for example, contributing authors explore and present fascinating perspectives:
- Historical insight into religious and cultural obligations for hosts and guests in Greek, Roman and early Christian settings (O’Gorman)
- Cultural linkages through the lens of the culture of food-and-drink consumption in gastronomy (Santich)
- Hospitality obligations within the Ngadh tribe in Indonesia, focused on reciprocity as different families in the tribe provide feasting in the understanding that they will be guests of their guest on another occasion (Cole)
- How in the regeneration of city-centre spaces hospitality experiences play a vital role in establishing and reinforcing lifestyle experiences. (Bell)
Intellectual advances accrue with a ‘new’ understanding of hospitality as the academic subject evolves, leading to much broader concepts and practical applications than have been the case to date, giving recognition of the multiplicity of ways in which hospitality can be interpreted. This world view concurs with that of Kuhn’s relative to the evolution of scientific thought. He emphasises that:
The scientist must be concerned to understand the world and to extend the precision and scope with which it has been ordered. That commitment must, in turn, lead him to scrutinise, either for himself or through colleagues, some aspect of nature in great empirical detail. And, if that scrutiny displays pockets of apparent disorder then these must challenge him to a new refinement of his observational techniques or to a further articulation of his theories.
Hospitality—to infinity and beyond. May the forces be with you.
- Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago, University of Chicago Press 1962) p 111
- ibid. p 7
- Conrad Lashley Paul Lynch Alison Morrison (eds) Hospitality: a social lens (Oxford, Elsevier 2007)
- ibid. p 42