The Superhost

biopolitics, home and community in the Airbnb dream-world of global hospitality

Maartje Roelofsen, Claudio Minca*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article intends to contribute to the existing body of critical scholarly work on the sharing economies of tourism. Focussing on the Airbnb platform, it investigates the biopolitical spatialities that emerge from its qualification and quantification of bodily performances of hospitality. Drawing on the work of Roberto Esposito, the article challenges the notion of “community” pervading the rhetoric of the platform and crucially influencing the ways in which travel, hospitality and home are reconceptualized. It does so by analysing some of the key technologies and calculative rationalities that drive the making of these global “communities” and give rise to the champion of the Airbnb world of hospitality: the Superhost. We reflect on how ideas of community and hospitality translate into a metrics of care, “localness” and belonging, and on how specific practices related to the “spatialities of the home” are central to the qualification/quantification of life and of living spaces generated by the platform. We conclude by suggesting that, by exploring these sites and concepts, it is perhaps possible to unravel how these new geographies of hospitality are operationalized through the giving of “what is proper” – the intimate spatialities of the home – on the part of the hosts in order to become members of a greater Self, the Airbnb global community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-181
Number of pages12
JournalGeoforum
Volume91
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

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Keywords

  • Airbnb
  • biopolitics
  • community
  • home
  • sharing economy
  • tourism

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