Feeling like a Guest (or a Host): The Affective Encounters of Collaborative Hospitality

Lecturer : 
Jennie Germann Molz, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
Event type: 
HIIT seminar
Event time: 
2013-04-22 13:15 to 14:00
Aalto University, Computer Science Building, T2

In this talk, I explore the affective dimension of online hospitality exchange networks such as Couchsurfing and Airbnb. These websites are emblematic of a shift in tourism and hospitality toward forms of ‘emotional tourism’ and ‘intimate mobility’ (see Bialski 2007, 2013) that play into desires to feel like a local or make an emotional connection. The intersecting spaces of online and offline interaction, accompanied by humanistic discourses of cosmopolitanism, like-mindedness, and ‘clicking’, pull together certain affective qualities of sociality between strangers. The brief-but-intense intimacies we see emerging in these encounters allow us to challenge claims about the anomie of modernity, but also reveal the awkward messiness of human togetherness. This poses an interesting design question: Should developers try to engineer this messiness out of online social networking – or into it?


Jennie Germann Molz, PhD is assistant professor of sociology at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts and a Fulbright Scholar (spring 2013) in the Multidimensional Tourism Institute at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland. Her research and teaching interests focus on tourism mobilities, social networking technologies, mobile sociality, critical hospitality theory, and global citizenship. She is a founding co-editor of the journal Hospitality & Society (Intellect), co-editor of Mobilizing Hospitality (Ashgate, 2007) and author of Travel Connections: Tourism, Technology and Togetherness in a Mobile World (Routledge, 2012).

Last updated on 16 Apr 2013 by Antti Ukkonen - Page created on 16 Apr 2013 by Antti Ukkonen