Law is typically located at the scale of the nation state and, as a result, discussions about law and hospitality have tended to emphasise issues of national sovereignty, national identity, and relationships to noncitizen others. However, what remains a fundamental part of hospitality theory is the philosophical emphasis on hospitality as a dimension of the individual owner’s ethical responsibilities to the visitor as well as the constitutive reciprocity between host and guest. In Levinas, moreover, hospitality is a very personal matter – it is about opening the self to the other, as well as the home or the dwelling. Debates about hospitality always seem to contain an unresolved surplus of connections and disjunctions between these scales of nation, home, and subject. Movement between the frames of house/home and national territory, owner and sovereign, or ethics and politics seem theoretically routine, yet always suggestive that there is something unspoken or missing in the transition from self, to home, and to nation.
Recommended CitationAston, Rhys and Davies, Margaret, Property in the World: On Collective Hosting and the ‘Ownership’ of Communal Goods, Law Text Culture, 17, 2013, 211-239.