What are topics related to hospitality

My house is your house: what is hospitality?

Whoever entertains and accommodates a guest often makes it superficially selfless. But it also creates a social cement.

“Feel at home.” This sentence almost dissolves the roles of guest and host. And only rarely is it lived so consistently that visitors actually move around in a strange environment as if they were at home here. But it sums up something like the ideal that hospitality boils down to. It enables someone to live freely on foreign territory and to have all the amenities that the actual resident has. However, the concept of hospitality is hardly seen as comprehensively today. The focus is usually on temporary admission, hospitality, and maybe even accommodation.

There is a difference in who this hospitality is shown to. Is it a member of your own group - a friend? Or is it about showing hospitality to strangers? With the latter group in particular, the overcoming is greater, because a relationship has to be established first, you don't know where to place the other person. The value of this hospitality is particularly emphasized in religious traditions. "If a stranger will live with you in your country, you should not steal him," it says in the Old Testament.

Hospitality serves here as a kind of social cement that creates a kind of trust between different groups. Or as Friedrich Nietzsche puts it: "The meaning of the customs of hospitality is: to paralyze the hostile in the foreign." The thought of accommodating a foreign guest may sound selfless. But in a larger context, it also serves to maintain the social fabric. And to guarantee through your own behavior that you will be treated in this way yourself, the roles should be swapped once. The thoughts of generosity, charity and charity can be found in hospitality.

Inviting friends to dinner. Leaving a bed for one night or maybe several. It is situations like this in which we often encounter hospitality in everyday life. Which, for the sake of politeness, are often combined with invitations in return, even if they do not necessarily have to be reciprocal. It is about cordiality that is usually not concerned with taking advantage of the situation. In return, there is only abstract - through the opportunity to experience the same hospitality in return. Or on a symbolic level in the form of a gift. From the point of view of the inviting person, however, the hospitality is unselfish at this moment.


Commercialized hospitality. But the term hospitality is also often used when it is of benefit to the host. Especially in tourism, people like to advertise the major role hospitality plays in a country, a region or a specific company. The goal is the same: the guest should feel comfortable. Only a specific consideration in the form of payment is required for this. In this respect, it makes sense to speak of commercialized hospitality in this context. The effect for the guest should be the same: they should feel good.

("Die Presse", print edition, December 21, 2014)