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Delineating the changing frontstage and backstage segregation in high-end and luxury hotels

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A common characteristic in George Orwell’s, William Foote Whyte’s and Erving Goffman’s classic works, as well as in the literature that followed their legacy, is the tendency of authors to refer to a front-of-house (FoH) and back-of-house (BoH) segregation, especially in terms of workers’ skills, gender, aesthetic, emotional and ethnic characteristics. The mark between the two areas is also treated as a variable, based on the degree of interaction between employees and guests. Departing from Goffman’s so-called sore spot areas, we seek to understand how the line of visibility changes in the light of societal and cultural shifts. Drawing on 25 interviews with general and human resource managers, we report an alteration of the typical FoH/BoH distinction with serious implications for practice. A hotel’s workplace layout, aesthetic, hiring and product processes are redesigned to encompass a new organizational identity and offer embodied experiences.
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Keywords: aesthetic labour; backstage/frontstage; emotional labour; front/back-of-house; luxury hotels; social change; staged authenticity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000403834764University of Nicosia

Publication date: September 1, 2020

This article was made available online on September 21, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Delineating the changing frontstage and backstage segregation in high-end and luxury hotels".

More about this publication?
  • 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.

    Hospitality & Society is the official journal of the Council for Hospitality Management Education
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