School: Social Sciences
Academic Unit: Social Anthropology and History
Level of studies: Undergraduate
Course code: W/S-043 Semester: 7th
Course Title: Hospitality and Cultural Differentiation
Independent teaching activities Weekly teaching hours Credits
Lectures 3 6
Course type: General Background
Prerequisite courses: None
Language of instruction and examinations: Greek
Is the course offered to erasmus students: No
Course website (Url):


    Learning outcomes: In this seminar, that combines class discussion with a small research exercise, students become familiarized with the theoretical and methodological issues that emerge in the study of alterity in the context of migration through the example of “hospitality”. The participants are invited to critical reflect on the culturally informed practices of receiving and interacting with the ethno-cultural other, practices with which they have great familiarity. In this sense the seminar is an exercise in “de-familiarization”. At the same time, students are engaged in an in depth analysis of the “refugee and migration issue” through the angle of “host-guest” interaction and become aware of the important political and social implications of the use of the language of “hospitality” in humanitarian management. They also cultivate their research skills.

    General Competences: This seminar contributes to methodological self-awareness. It also invites critical self-reflection on the production of sociality and the management of difference. On a more technical, methodological level, through an ethnographic exercise students become acquainted with some central issues in the setting up of a research project in the difficult context of “auto anthropology”. They are also trained in writing up a synthetic anthropological essay.

    (3) SYLLABUS

    This seminar focuses on the experience of the refugee and migration crisis of the last decade through the analysis of the emic concept of “hospitality”. The seminar discusses various theories and ways of analyzing hospitality in a multiplicity of contexts and opts for treating “hospitality as a local, symbolically constructed category, a category that is central in the production of difference in modern Greek society. “Hospitality” is analyzed in its multiple forms as a hierarchical structure, in its contradictory composition by two opposed attitudes, xenophilia and xenophobia, and in connection to a relativistic “regime of difference” that historically prevails in Greek society. On these terms “hospitality” is employed as a lens for the understanding of the recent “refugee crisis” and the interaction of the multiplicity of actors involved in the crisis at the local level.


    Delivery: Face-to face
    Use of information and communications technology : Students have access to the page of the course in eclass
    Teaching methods:  Activity Semester workload
    Seminars 15
    Presentations in class 9
    Class discussion 15
    Autonomous study and exam preparation 60
    Final essay 55
    Course total: 154
    Student performance evaluation: Final examination


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    • M. Herzfeld, «As in your own house’: hospitality, ethnography, and the stereotype of Mediterranean society». Honor and Shame and the Unity of the Mediterranean (1987): 75-89

    • Pitt-Rivers, J., ‘The law of hospitality’. Στο The Fate of Shechem or the Politics of Sex, σ. 94-112, 1977.

    • J. du Boulay, «Strangers and gifts: Hostility and hospitality in rural Greece». Journal of Mediterranean Studies 1:27-53, 1991.

    • Ε. Παπαταξιάρχης, «Στην άκρη του βλέμματος: Η κρίση της «φιλοξενίας» την εποχή των διαπερατών συνόρων». Σύγχρονα Θέματα 107, 2009.

    • Ε. Παπαταξιάρχης, «Ο αδιανόητος ρατσισμός: Η πολιτικοποίηση της «φιλοξενίας» την εποχή της κρίσης. Σύγχρονα Θέματα 127, 2014

    • Rozakou, K., The biopolitics of hospitality, American Ethnologist 39, 2012

    • Derrida, J., Περί φιλοξενίας. Αθήνα: Εκκρεμές, 2006.