Language and (in)hospitality
The micropolitics of hosting and guesting
Based on a long-term ethnography of Sub-Saharan African migrants in Cape Town, South Africa, this article examines how language as ideology and practice shapes the rules of guesting and hosting and helps (re)configure the on-going positionalities of both the nation-state-defined-host and the foreigner-guest, making murky the distinction between the two. The key notion of hospitality developed here is examined as practices rather than as identities. I argue that this theoretical shift makes it possible to unsettle the host and guest positions by not positing them a priori or conceptualizing them as immutable. It likewise makes it possible to deconstruct the categories imposed by the State and by which scholars and policy makers alike abide, such as the dichotomy between migrants and locals. At a broader level, the paper draws attention to the Occidentalism that has plagued academia, particularly in the work done on migration. I show how the South African case challenges many scholarly assumptions on language and migration overwhelmingly based on the examination of South-to-North migrations, which do not adequately represent worldwide migrations.
- 2.Language as (in)hospitality
- 3.The “new geography of encounters”
- 4.What’s in a name?
- 5.Hosting and guesting as performance
- 6.Historical haunting of contemporary hospitality
- 7.Unsettling the white-black local divide
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Cited by 8 other publications
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