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Open Access Putting up (with) the paying guest: negotiating hospitality and the boundaries of the commercial home in private lodging arrangements

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC licence.

This article explores the guest‐host relationship in private lodging arrangements in the UK, a living arrangement that has increased dramatically in recent years in response to escalating housing costs. Utilising data from a UK study of diverse forms of shared housing, and situated within literature on critical hospitality, we first explore the spirit in which hospitality is offered by hosts and the importance of the financial transaction relative to other considerations, while also highlighting the experiences of hosts who positively embrace shared living. We then explore the limits of hospitality in private lodgings, foregrounding the experiences of more reluctant hosts, and highlighting how hospitality can easily mutate into hostility. We conclude that the ambivalent nature of the home space that is experienced in private lodgings creates a situation where often neither host nor guest truly feels ‘at home’ while living in the presence of the other, although the extent to which this is seen as problematic depends very much on the orientation of those involved to more communal ways of living and their willingness to compromise in order to achieve a balance between ‘yours’ and ‘mine’.

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Keywords: ambivalence; commercial home; critical hospitality; private lodgings; shared housing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Manchester, UK

Publication date: November 2020

This article was made available online on August 23, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Putting up (with) the paying guest: Negotiating hospitality and the boundaries of the commercial home in private lodging arrangements".

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