The dangers of hospitality: the French state, cultural difference and gods

Judith Still

in Derrida and Hospitality Theory and Practice

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640270
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671786 | DOI:
The dangers of hospitality: the French state, cultural difference and gods

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This chapter poses the question of those who arrived in France in the post-colonial era either because they originated in former colonies and were pressed to come to work when labour power was needed, or they felt that France would welcome them for that reason, or because they believed in France as a country that took in refugees. It begins with some remarks about naming and about hospitality then moves on to this question of the label ‘hôte’ (host/guest). When we discuss hospitality towards strangers, as opposed to family or friends, as a political question, we often focus our discussion on the border of the nation state, of the United States or of Europe. However, there are many frontiers within the state and within cities, and it is extremely important to consider these too. The precarious status of guest (where that is how an immigrant is perceived) can last, if only in a vestigial form, even after citizenship is granted, and indeed can be a perverse inheritance passed on through the generations. The final section returns to this question, and asks how this too is related to religion.

Keywords: France; post-colonial era; hospitality; naming; hôte; guest; religion

Chapter.  13954 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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