Cinderella in Babylon: The Representation of Housekeeping and Housekeepers in the UK Television Series 'Hotel Babylon'

Candice Harris, Helen Tregidga, David Williamson

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This paper examines representations of housekeeping and housekeepers in the popular, and arguably influential, television series Hotel Babylon. We take a reflective approach in considering how identities and roles in the Hotel Babylon series are constructed regarding the housekeeping department and workers and note possible effects of such constructions. We identify that the representation of housekeeping work and employees is one of mainly sexualised victims, migrant workers, and denigrated employees. We contrast this with the recognition that housekeeping is in fact often the largest and most important department in hotels as the majority of hotel income is derived from the sale of rooms. We note the irony that these employees responsible for the largest revenue generating area of the hotel are so strongly denigrated. Some possible effects of the identity and role constructed in relation to this area of hotel employment are discussed. In particular we note an undermining and undervaluing of a hospitality career in housekeeping. In terms of hotel and hospitality generally, this study suggests more fundamental concerns about sustaining service quality and employment relationships in a tight labour market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-66
JournalHospitality and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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