Strangers at the Edge of Hospitality


in Phenomenologies of the Stranger

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234615
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240722 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Strangers at the Edge of Hospitality

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This chapter focuses on the Strangers Gate in New York City's Central Park. This gate paradigmatically represents a permeable edge across and through which hospitality occurs. It is a liminal space where primordial decisions of hospitality and hostility take place. These edges prompt critical questions in the discourse surrounding hospitality and the Stranger: Who is welcomed and who excluded? Who promises gifts and who threatens violation? Who gives the right or duty to the host to determine who crosses the line in the sand and who does not? Such sites point to the openings and closings of hospitality. Hosting involves particular limits and boundaries. Politics occurs across difference, both individual and national, and not just in some universal cosmopolitan sphere. Encountering strangers — ethically or politically — takes place: it involves a site, either literal or metaphorical, with an interior and an exterior, a way in and a way out.

Keywords: Strangers Gate; New York City; Central Park; edges; Stranger; hospitality; hostility; interior; exterior; strangers

Chapter.  4475 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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