This presentation was given by Dr Estella Carpi at the Refugee Hosts International Conference. The presentation examined hospitality as a ‘phenomenological economy’, which sheds particular light on the hospitality offered by refugees to members of ‘outside communities’.

Hospitality as a ‘Phenomenological Economy’: International Guests among MENA’s Refugees

By Dr Estella Carpi, Research Associate, Southern Responses to Displacement  

Over the last decade, studies on what it means for receiving governments, societies and citizen, migrant or refugee groups to host people fleeing war and violence have been flourishing (Rosello, 2002; Shryock, 2004 and 2008; Brun, 2010; Pitt-Rivers, 2012; Rozakou, 2012; Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, 2016; Thorleiffson, 2016; Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Qasmiyeh, 2018; Carpi and Senoguz, 2018). In this paper, I aim to shed light on the forms of hospitality that refugees have been providing to international researchers, practitioners, tourists and students in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The preliminary findings are based on a questionnaire that I have distributed over the last two years to ‘international community’ members who have experienced forms of hospitality among refugee groups in the MENA region. On the one hand, the hospitality offered by refugees to the ‘international community’ is a longstanding phenomenon whose nature becomes of increasing importance, as it seems to develop along with the blooming of ethnographies in disciplines other than anthropology, and an overall scientific preference for extensive fieldwork timeframes and participatory approaches. On the other hand, concerns have been raised about the ‘everyday life’ focus as it often leads to over-researched areas (Sukarieh and Tannock, 2012), the use of identical field research avenues (Pascucci, 2017), and the genuineness of participatory research across different geographies (Carpi, 2019).

The paper therefore endeavours to build a more ‘phenomenological’ economy of hospitality, in which not only the multi-scale hospitality offered to refugees counts, but also the hospitality offered by refugees to ‘outside communities’.


If you found this piece of interest, please visit our recommended reading list below:

Carpi, E. (2018)  Humanitarianism and Postcolonialism – A Look at Academic Texts

Carpi, E. (2017)  The Politics of Reception Syria’s Neighbourhood

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2019) Exploring refugees’ conceptualisations of Southern-led humanitarianism

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2018) Refugee-Refugee Humanitarianism



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