Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Experiencing Hospitality

"Bill Rowson and Conrad Lashley are two authoritative voices who do not need a further presentation in the fields of hospitality. In this occasion, they present an edited book, which entitles experiencing hospitality. This editorial project, recently released by the leading publisher Nova Science, gathers 12 chapters oriented to build a bridge between theory and practice. Of course, the term hospitality not only denotes different significations –such as the dichotomy between commercial or non-commercial typologies –but also the figure of the hotel embodies ancient anthropological rites where hospitality occupies a central position, while it represents a unit for profits (for the hotel-owner). Hence, the book is a useful tool kit for social scientists and practitioners in the hospitality industry. In the introductory chapter, precisely, Conrad Lashley interrogates furtherly on the needs of narrowing the discrepancies  and differences between the hospitality management tradition and the social sciences. While the former signals to develop the infrastructure to provide commercial services, the latter refers to the study of hospitality as a social institution. Though these traditions are not mutually exclusive they share contrasting conceptions of what hospitality means. In this respect, Lashley suggests that hospitality should be approached from three perspectives: the cultural social domain, commercial-industrial domain and private-domestic domain. The convergence of the three domains results in what Lashley calls “the hospitality experience”. In the cultural domain, hospitality cultivates the host-guest relations and the human reciprocity ignited by hospitableness. The domestic domain marks the access of guests as entrants to private and domestic space. As he puts it, “the tension between private and public space is at its most intense when a domestic dwelling is also a commercial space sold to strangers” (p. 7). Finally, the commercial domain is based on the provision with food, accommodation and lodge which is exchanged to a rate. Commercial hospitality is offered to those who can pay for it. These represent the services we find in hotels or restaurants. These spaces are characterized by higher levels of efficiency, calculability and control than other forms of hospitalities. Hospitality should not be limited to the rites of giving -while- receiving ethnographers have documented in a non-western culture. Commercial hospitality seems to be standardized elements of hospitableness in a capitalist society. Having said this, the tourism industry would gain much whether the anthropological theories about hospitality are incorporated. The second chapter, which is authored by Roy C. Wood, explores the dichotomies of consumption in the fields of hospitality from a Marxist viewpoint. Echoing George Ritzer’s notion of McDonaldization, Wood toys with the belief that the radical hospitality which postulated the needs of giving shelter to anyone who calls for it, sets the pace to a new capitalist version where money occupies a central position in the human relations. This suggests that the purity of tribal hospitality is finally corrupted by the rise of industrialization (such a theory was conceived as the hospitality turn). Wood eloquently argues that Marxists believe that history denotes an inevitable class struggle, which determines the evolution of economic history. In the capitalist society, there is a gap between exploiters(capital owners) and exploited (the proletariat). The third chapter – in the hands of Tom Selwyn – discusses the intersection of hostility in the rites of hospitality confronting the seminal book “In Search of Hospitality” (Lashley and Morrison, 2000). The chapter analyses three relating study-cases to understand the social nature of hospitality. These events are doubtless the fire that shocked London on June 2017 (Grenfell tower), followed by the deportation of Caribbean affiliation (known as Windrush Scandal and the well-famous Brexit. For some reason, as Selwyn infers, the UK faces by a climate of hospitality against the foreigner as never before. George Ritzer, in the fourth chapter, introduces the idea of McDonaldization to denote the triumph of efficiency, as a mainstream cultural value, over other more genuine forms of hospitality. In fact, as Ritzer observes, the urgency to impose standardised system centred on efficiency and control is destroying the real hospitality which connotes a more fluid host-guest interaction. This invariably led towards a much deeper alienation where the customer experiences “inhospitable hospitality”. Of course, emotions play a leading role in the rite of hospitality. In the fifth and sixth chapters, Prokopis Christou and Aspasia Smillidou and Christou will provide a robust conceptual framework to understand why emotions should be understood as predictors of human behaviour. However, far from being easily predicted, emotions display a net of complex situations and nets which are very hard to decode – for the fieldworkers. In fact, the chapter orients to discuss to what extent behaviour can be adapted to positive emotions in contexts of hospitality. As the previous argument is given, Bill Browson – in the seventh chapter – acknowledges that the conditions of liberality and freedom the industry of hospitality offers, sometimes open the doors to the climate of extreme instability. A climate of psychological distress, certainly punctuated by the so-called gig economy, employers often go through insecure conditions of recruitment and work. The problem of alcohol consumption and abuse is treated in the eighth chapter by Jill Poulston. The chapter describes how the quest of pleasure is experienced by the server and the served in view of the fact it is the touchstone of hospitality. Poulston starts from the premise that hospitality does not apply beyond pleasure. She bases her analysis in the study of alcohol consumption in colonial New Zealand. The subordinated role of hosts in the commercial hospitality, as well as the conflict between staff-members, is a common theme in the 9th (Tjeerd Zandberg), 10th (Verena Hopf,  Laura Velten and Bill Rowson) and 11th chapters (Klaes Eringa).  While Zandberg fleshes out an interesting model that explains the decline of upper management in hotel organizations oriented to achieve a more personal relationship with the customer, Hopf, Velten and Rowson emphasize on the needs of adopting artificial intelligence and robots in the hospitality industry. Even if the future of AI and robots remains uncertain no less true is that its use facilitates the processes of self-checking or check out located in hotel terminals. Klaes Eringa thinks on the possibilities tore-frame hotels as hospitable working spaces for the staff. Last but not least, Radu Mihailescu explores the challenges and opportunities of wine tourism in the years to come. The segment of wine tourism was exponentially experienced a notable growth over the recent years. It not only contributed to the local economies but also boosted the domestic development – above all in the rural regions. Such an expansion has created unseen asymmetries which need to be closely studied.
After further discussion, the present book – at least for this reviewer – exhibits a titanic effort to decode the complexity of hospitality while laying the foundations towards an all encompassing definition of the term. To a closer look, editors and invited authors do not agree with the classic distinction between commercial and non-commercial hospitality, situating this book as a fresh and innovative piece of hot debate highly recommended by ethnographers, anthropologists, social scientists and policymakers. Hence Rowson and Lashley offer a high-quality editorial product which surely will stand the test of time."
Maximiliano Emanuel Korstanje
Department of Economics
University of Palermo

The Anthropology of Tourism Security

"While most other books limit themselves to discussing tourism security as a straightforward practical challenge, this one is a bold attempt to situate security within related social science fields – particularly anthropology. This approach gives us frameworks to debate tourism security as a scholarly topic. That said, the contributors to this volume have brought in several real world examples to expand upon these frameworks and apply them to improve the practice of security management in tourism." - Babu George, PhD, Fort Hays State University, USA

"Safety and security are the latest frontier of tourism contemporary challenges. This book analyzes the wider range and the multiple relations among travel, safety, security and risk perception from an anthropological perspective." - Claudio Milano, Ostelea School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Lleida (Barcelona, Spain).

"The Anthropology of Tourism Security by Max Korstanje ties many useful topics of tourism security together into a useful, well written text. As a professor of hospitality security and risk management I find it informative and timely." - Brian Bergquist, Ph.D. Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout, USA

For more information about this book, please click here.

Gazing at Death: Dark Tourism as an Emergent Horizon of Research

“The topic of dark tourism is growing in attention globally. Dr. Korstanje has dedicated this book to understanding the phenomena of travel surrounding death, disasters and terror. This book provides a one-stop shop for understanding a number of key areas of research within dark tourism: the motivations and behaviors surrounding dark travel, smart tourism for dark sites, as well as the economic impact of dark tourism. This book fills a gap in the literature which can be used by students, academics and practitioners alike.” - Professor Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray, University of Florida, USA

“This is a must-read book which starts a new discussion not only on dark tourism issues but on the role of death in modern society. A much deep-seated issue that merits to be investigated in the years to come.” - Abraham Abe Pizam, University of Central Florida, USA

“Dr. Max Korstankje is one of the great minds of our young century. You may agree or disagree with his conclusions but this book, like much of his work makes the careful reader ponder his points and consider his positions. Korstankje is more than a thinker, he is the best type of academic, one who makes us question even the simplest of assumptions. Encountering his ideas is more than a mere journey into another academic work, but a chance to come face to face with multiple questions and academic challenges.” - Peter Tarlow - Texas A&M University, USA

“Gazing Death draws together the latest research in the field by presenting new and important insights in a well-crafted meticulously researched book. The chapters in this volume employ a multidisciplinary perspective to address the social, political, ethical, philosophical and cultural perspectives of dark tourism. It is an indispensable guide that will satisfy the novice and more experienced dark tourism scholar seeking to understand the tourism of macabre spectacles, places of disaster and sites on the darker side of life.” - Demond S. Miller, Rowan University, USA

"Gazing at Death is a must-read book, which allows a restructuration in the ways global tourism should be thought. This represents a fertile invitation to build a new theoretical framework of tourism in this new millenium." - Associate Professor Celeste Nava - University of Guanajuato, Mexico

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Modeling and New Trends in Tourism: A Contribution to Social and Economic Development

“Tourism is widely recognized as a basic determinant of economic growth at the national, regional and global level. Moreover, it constitutes a basic pillar of social development. Tourism exerts a great impact on employment and output, especially when it is examined in the context of the current economic and financial crisis. However, in an increasingly integrated economic environment a coherent scientific framework is required in order to identify emerging issues as well as latest trends and synergies concerning new policy perspectives. It must be realized that to a large extent tourism has successfully confronted the global crisis and external shocks demonstrating its resilience in terms of stimulating economies. Active tourism policies have played an essential role in supporting a competitive and sustainable tourism economy. However, addressing major challenges and maximizing tourism's full economic potential, requires a multidimensional and operational approach in terms of policy design. The book “Modeling and New Trends in Tourism: A Contribution to Social and Economic Development” captures these ongoing tendencies and implications based on scientific methodologies in order to model and explain tourism competitiveness, local conditions of tourism and territories’ viability. Moreover, the book analyses tourism performance and recent policy trends, objectives, initiatives and reforms contributing to a new vision for contemporary tourism industry. The book highlights the need for active, innovative and consistent policy responses to ensure that tourism remains a sustainable and a competitive sector. As a result, the book may serve as an international reference and benchmark regarding the enhancement of sustainable tourism with the aim to support agents’ decisions either in the public or in the private sector.” - Ioannis Vavouras, Professor Economic Policy, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece

“Going through this book the readers will surely notice the commitment, and even passion, put into its design and enhancement. Indeed, contributors, editors and authors, were able to align a set of models giving a new insight for the contemporary tourism economy in a clear and well-structured way following a scientific approach, aiming to supply tools to decision makers, public or private. It is to highlight that the text evidences there was really much reflection and research on the current reality to base the opinions expressed in this work as well as possible. This gave rise to that “Modeling and New Trends in Tourism: A Contribution to Social and Economic Development” is a high quality scientific book, with a very pleasant reading, fundamental for professionals and researchers of the problematic of tourism and also accessible to anyone curious about this subject.” - Professor Manuel Alberto M. Ferreira, ISCTE-IUL, Lisboa

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International Event Management: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice

“Event management has become a fashionable topic over the last few decades, so there have been enormous efforts in contributing to its applications in research, education and practice. Event management is diversified encompassing academic (meetings, forums etc), social (wedding parties, concerts etc), economic (mega events, fairs, football etc), and geographical (hiking, skiing, water sports etc) dimensions; all has become a brand name in many societies. It is pleasing to see that the academia has paid much more attention to advance the limits of event management to make it as one of the most significant elements of the new millennium’s economic activities worldwide. In this context, Event Management is a nice contribution to introduce its association with some other subjects such as image, planning, policies and education and also provide case studies representing various countries worldwide. It is a useful reference for both the academia and practice.” - Professor Metin Kozak, Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey

“I welcome this edited book on event management. We need to constantly add to knowledge and these diverse, contributed chapters will be of interest to everyone in the field.” - Don Getz - University of Calgary, Canada

“This edited collection features contributions from a highly experienced and diverse group of international scholars with it representing an authoritative and timely contribution to the domain of international event management. In seeking to bridge the gap between theory and practice the contribution includes a good range of event destination scenarios with examples drawn from the UK, Caribbean, Greece, South Africa and the Middle East. An invaluable read for all those engaged in the management of events internationally.” - Dr Alan Fyall, Orange County Endowed Professor of Tourism Marketing, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida

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Critical Essays in Tourism Research

"Critical Essays in Tourism Research offers a thoughtful and critical read that confronts the complacency evident across so much tourism research and the traditional, primarily Western (English-speaking), view of the marketing, management and economics of tourism. Tourism is clearly much bigger and more impactful than just an industry with this edited collection reminding us of the anthropological routes of tourism and for prompting the need to re-read many of the original classics that seem to have been forgotten in the intervening decades. A most useful and timely contribution to the future scholarly and theoretical development of tourism and its multiple faces."
- Dr. Alan Fyall, Orange County Endowed Professor of Tourism Marketing, University of Central Florida

“In this book, the contributors raise some fundamental questions about the nature of tourism knowledge that are rarely asked but always assumed. Our mainstream knowledge of tourism is a bundle of generally held beliefs and these need to be deconstructed to see the deeper undercurrents making up the tourism system. One particular epistemological question that always baffled me is the validity of responses about touristic motivation and behavior that we gather from people who are not in their touristic state of mind when the survey is conducted. The contributors to this volume have shown the boldness to un-assume beliefs and opinions to propose a critical theory of tourism. This book will offer a great reading experience for the scholarly practitioners in tourism and associated areas.” - Babu George, Fort Hays State University, USA

“Critical Essays in Tourism Research offers an opportunity to revisit furtherly some of the conceptual foundations and discourses, which are taken for granted in tourism fields. Its main value lies in the incorporation of critical perspectives to the global discussions and current understanding of tourism.” - Juan Carlos Monterrubio Cordero, Autonomous University of the State of Mexico

“Over the years tourism scholars who base their innovative insights on the social sciences stand in opposition to those who exclusively rely on management and marketing as their status quo position. Maximiliano Korstanje represents the former camp by challenging the latter. In this edited book he brings together writers who share his anti-establishment views which thereby allow the multidisciplinary understanding of tourism to progress. Interestingly, some of these contributors do not have English as their first language.” - Graham Dann, Professor Emeritus, Artic University of Norway, Norway

For more information about this book, please click here.