Embodying the Rural Idyll in Farm Tourist Hosting
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionScandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism. 2014, 14 (2), 101-115. 10.1080/15022250.2014.899136
This article is concerned with service work conducted on farms, and it explores how men and women's bodies are involved in producing and mediating positive aspects of the rural. The main question is whether the two types of work, farming and tourist hosting, are represented by compatible or conflicting bodies. The analysis is based on interviews with couples from 20 farms. Findings show that farm heritage and culture is central to the farm tourist product, and that dress and appearance, as signifiers of both a farming lifestyle and professional tourist hosting, hold fewer tensions than could be expected from the taken-for-granted difference between the two types of work. Relations between hosts and guests in the different spaces of nature and the home disclose gendered challenges. Men need to incorporate caring aspects in their wilderness activities. Women struggle to balance their own needs and emotions with tourists' expectations – as the personal and the home are commercialised as part of the rural idyll. Interestingly, as service work expands into the agricultural sector, our findings indicate that these two different types of work may gradually lose their distinct embodied differences.