Accepted Paper:

Home as a commodified tourist attraction: the case of Cuban casas particulares  

Author:

Oskar Lubinski (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

Taking as an example Cuban family rent-houses this paper explores how family life becomes commodified in service of tourism industry and how this industry disciplines this family life.

Paper long abstract:

As tourism in Cuba developed in the 1990's along with it came a sprawl of small family-enterprises aimed at tourist services. Principally they served to remedy the lack of sufficient infrastructure such as hotels or restaurant, but soon became an important selling point for Cuba offering cheaper accommodation and family atmosphere. Thus casas particulares, small private houses which offer lodging to tourists, have become increasingly popular among tourists visiting the country in search of personal, 'authentic' relations with local communities.

This paper aims to explore how family experience and family space becomes commodified in casas particulares in Cuba - their hosts have to at the same time maintain family life and make the place attractive for the tourists. Hospitality and family life, as such, are constructed as the product aimed at the international visitors to the country. At the same time, casa particular becomes a point of reference for the whole family and organises family-, as well as personal life where family members become involved in activities that provide services to tourists.

Thus home spaces and family life become reduced to what MacCannell (1992) defines as 'empty meeting grounds' of globalised economy where sense of community and family life is transformed into a product to be consumed by tourists.

The paper is a result of an ongoing research from 2014 realised in cities of Havana, Matanzas, Varadero and ViƱales.

Panel P141
Oikos: households, markets and nation