Director Lucy Ferguson and Associate Sarah Becklake presented a paper at the European Conference on Politics and Gender on tourism homestays. The conference was held at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, 8-10th June 2017. The paper – entitled “Mothering tourists: a feminist political economy of tourism homestays in Guatemala” – explores the gendered social reproductive labour that is involved in homestays.
The paper draws upon five months of ethnographic field research conducted by Sarah Becklake in the small city of La Antigua Guatemala (Antigua for short), Guatemala´s main tourism destination and a popular Spanish-learning destination, of which homestays are a key part of the tourism experience. The first part of the paper defines homestays and sets out the context and methodology of the research. The paper is then developed in three further sections, which address the substantive issues raised by the research findings: intersections between gender, class, and nationality; performing motherhood for tourists; and the gendered labour of (de-)differentiation.
In the conclusions, the authors explore what this analysis of tourism homestays can contribute to our understandings of the gendered political economy of social reproduction and identify future lines of enquiry in this area.