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Theoretically Checking In

Theoretically Checking In

(p.21) 1 Theoretically Checking In
Housekeeping By Design
David Brody
University of Chicago Press

The first chapter is inspired by Wayne Koestenbaum’s Hotel Theory, which approaches hotels as a personal and theoretical conundrum. In this chapter, Brody uses theory to define the parameters of his study and turns to Karl Marx, Henri Lefebvre, and Thorstein Veblen to initiate a larger discussion about design, hotels, and labor. Marx sets the stage for an inquiry into labor and how hotels often obfuscate reality through the veneer of design. Lefebvre was one of the first to consider space as a product of capitalism, which manifests the fantasy of an escape from reality in places like hotels. Veblen spoke to the notion of display and the manners of consumption. Each of these theorists provides insight into hotels as carefully designed and highly orchestrated spaces where workers’ voices are far from paramount.

Keywords:   Karl Marx, Hanri Lefebvre, Thorstein Veblen, Wayne Koestenbaum, hotel theory, theory, hotels, labor, design

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