The Value of Intimacy - Negotiating Commercial Friendship in Lifestyle Entrepreneurship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


With the aim to reconsider lifestyle values in relation to economic rationality in small tourism and hospitality businesses, we focus on the “commercial home” as a site where boundaries between personal and commercial values are constantly performed in practice. Through an interactionist analysis of the narrative of a B&B and gallery owner, we illustrate the emergence of intimacy as a commercial value in the hospitality industry. By using Georg Simmel´s notion of distance, we analyse the formation of value as a dynamic social process in a context where a traditional market ethos is both rejected and reformulated. In this value creation analysis we show how a tension between intimacy and distance in the interaction between hosts and guests is managed through negotiated boundary work. This is illustrated through three themes: Situated friendship, The in-between space of the private and the public, and The local host as traveller. We argue that an analysis on situated interactions between producers and consumers highlights a tension and interplay between personal and commercial relations, rather than a dichotomic either/or relationship. This personal/commercial nexus points at an emerging hospitality ethos that opens up for new possibilities to analyse the co-creation of value and innovation in the service economy.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • value co-creation, hospitality, intimacy, lifestyle entrepreneurship, Simmel
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-32
JournalScandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch