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A Display Of Candy In An Open Jar: Portraying Sexualised Labour In The Hospitality Industry Using Expressive Phenomenology As Methodology

Gayathri Wijesinghe
Published 2009 · Sociology

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Scholars argue that there is a need for more qualitative research geared towards theory building to be employed in the study of tourism and hospitality phenomena in order for the knowledge within this field to progress further. The aim of this paper is to discuss the usefulness of this phenomenological study to advance knowledge in the field of tourism and hospitality. The paper introduces the expressive phenomenological research framework as a useful methodology to investigate real life experiences of practitioners and to gain plausible insights into their experiences. Expressive phenomenology which is a qualitative approach uses language to portray what an experience is like and to interpret its meaning in order to arrive at an in-depth understanding of the experience. This study outlines six steps that can be used to apply expressive phenomenology to a research inquiry. An illustrative example of how these steps are applied to an episode of practice from the hospitality industry is given. The example that is chosen here is a typical and significant episode relating to sexualised labour in the hospitality industry. A strong element in this experience is the way in which the hotel implicitly sexualises the receptionist-guest experience. Phenomenology is especially useful in studying this practitioner experience as there appear to be no “real-life stories” from the front desk that portray the experience of reception work in a scholarly way. The insights gained from this experience have implications for advancing research addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. The paper concludes by highlighting the importance of phenomenological studies to advance knowledge in the field of tourism and hospitality.
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