A hotel inspector calls: exploring surveillance at the home-work interface

Di Domenico, MariaLaura and Ball, Kirstie (2011). A hotel inspector calls: exploring surveillance at the home-work interface. Organization, 18(5) pp. 615–636.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508410393388

URL: http://org.sagepub.com/content/18/5/615.abstract


This article, which examines inspection experiences in the home-based context of the B&B, makes a distinctive contribution to surveillance theory, and specifically the concept of ‘exposure’. It draws on Levinas’s phenomenological ideas on identity and his concept of ‘sensibility’, in order to better place the ‘exposed’ subject at the centre of analysis. Our empirical research shows how B&B proprietors negotiate their exposure to surveillance within their homes when they take part in the tourist board’s accommodation grading process. Their ‘lifestyle businesses’ involve exposing the context of their own lives to their paying guests, and by extension to the hotel inspectors from the tourist board with its own covert inspectorial procedures. These are described from both the inspector’s and proprietor’s perspectives. We explore not only their subjective experiences of the inspection process, but also the power dynamics between proprietor and inspector, and the various resistance and counter-resistance strategies which each employ.

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