Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
the receptionist's experience. This chapter
explores a narrative of practice to uncover the
ways in which 'the gaze' as a lived experience
might be revealed. The narrative is produced by
the receptionist herself and refl ects the physical,
spatial, temporal and cultural relations infl uenc-
ing her experience of receptionist work.
an episode from their everyday practice that
illustrates a signifi cant element of their experi-
ence. The researcher asks the question: 'What
happened?' This invites the informant to describe
the event in her own words contextualizing the
narrative as far as possible in the locality, people
involved, issue in question and sequence of
events. The researcher then asks a second ques-
tion: 'What was the experience like?' In respond-
ing to this question the receptionist is encouraged
to leave out as much as possible, pre-conceived
understandings, notions and explanations about
the experience. This is achieved by inviting the
receptionist to express the experiential quality of
her experience in colourful metaphorical lan-
guage. This contemplative 'dwelling on' the
experience, has a strong foundation in the
expressive-phenomenological approach, which
seeks to provide a textual representation of the
so-called 'whatness' (what it was like) aspect of
the specifi c experience. The researcher and the
researched then collaborate to craft a vivid nar-
rative account of the receptionist's experience.
Finally, the researcher asks the question:
'What sense do you make of your experience?'
The way the receptionist made sense of her
experience is then interpreted through herme-
neutic analysis. Hermeneutics seeks to fi nd sig-
nifi cant patterns in the way people interpret
events in their everyday experiences. These
personalized meanings are then linked to rele-
vant social discourses. Hermeneutics can be
used to illumine the socially embedded nature
of human consciousness, and has the ability to
bring out elements of the episodes of reception
work that may have been overlooked or
repressed by the powerful agents of society.
Being the recipient of the tourist/guest gaze, it is
suggested here is one such signifi cant element
(Willis, 1999).
Methodology and Method
The research discussed here was developed
within a phenomenological epistemology. Phe-
nomenological research concerns the study of
phenomena - what appears to a person in his/
her direct experience. As Carel writes:
Phenomenology focuses on an in depth
exploration of the lived experience or on things
as they appear to us (rather than how they
might be in themselves). This can be contrasted
with a scientifi c, or objective, description of the
world . . . phenomenology suggests focusing on
what is easily accessible to us, namely, the
different acts of consciousness (such as thinking
and believing) and our experiences and
perceptions (things as they appear to us).
(Carel, 2008, p. 10)
Thus 'phenomenology must describe what is
given to us in immediate experience without
being obstructed by pre-conceptions and theo-
retical notions' (van Manen, 1990, p. 184). It is
concerned with intuitively grasping and portray-
ing presences, which are a pre-analytic primor-
dial form of knowing. The qualitative approach
adopted here begins with an exploration of a
signifi cant and typical event in reception work.
This event illustrates what it is like to be the
recipient of the tourist/guest gaze with its vari-
ous overtones. The episode herein is chosen by
the researcher receptionist involved in the study
to typify signifi cant acts of receiving the tourist/
guest gaze. Although, the word 'receive' is cho-
sen here it should not be taken to carry over-
tones of compliant reception; to be the recipient
of the tourist/guest gaze can be uncomfortable
and unwelcome for some receptionists, and can
involve acts of resistance.
In the study, the receptionists were chosen
for their ability to articulate the experiential qual-
ity of their work. The interview of the reception-
ist begins by asking each receptionist to recount
Portrayal of the tourist/guest gaze
The following narrative account describes the
experience of a Trainee Hotel Receptionist in a
fi ve-star hotel in Sri Lanka, referred to here as
The Goldmark (pseudonym). Part of our induc-
tion into the job at the Goldmark involved
learning its style in personal grooming in order
to ensure our image met the requirements of the
Search WWH ::

Custom Search