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Hospitality: Possible or impossible?

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This article explores two main philosophical approaches to the relationship between hospitality and hostility. First, the hermeneutic approach, inspired by Paul Ricoeur, committed to a paradigm of reciprocal exchange between host and guest. Second, the deconstructive approach following Derrida, which endorses an asymmetrical rupture between host and guest. In the second part of the article the author applies these respective models to critical readings of hospitality in the Greek and Biblical traditions and in some contemporary political examples.
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Keywords: Derrida; Ricoeur; deconstruction; hermeneutics; hospitality; stranger

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Boston College

Publication date: September 1, 2015

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  • Hospitality & Society is an international multidisciplinary social sciences journal focusing upon hospitality and exploring its connections with wider social and cultural processes and structures. The journal welcomes submissions from various disciplines and aims to be an interactive forum expanding frontiers of knowledge and contributing to the literature on hospitality social science. Articles that stimulate debate, discussion and exchange across disciplines are welcomed, as well as review essays or short topical pieces that are provocative and problematic in nature.
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