Volume 12, Issue 1, 2015
Allegories of Imperialism: Barbarians and World Cultures
Constructing the Other by Means of Hospitality: the Case of Argentina
In the hyper-mobile world of today, the industry of tourism and cultural entertainment, witnesses the multiplication of opportunities to travel. According to
John Urry, we inhabit mobile cultures where being kind to strangers is a positive cultural value. This reality archives the bloody past of hospitality, which from the
ideological fields facilitated, for instance, the conquest of the Americas. In the present discussion, I delve into the world of literature and explore Viaje a caballo por las provincias Argentinas [Journey on horseback across the provinces of Argentine] a work originally written by William Mac Cann, a British businessman who visited the country between 1947 and 1948. His observations not only reveal the collective patterns of behaviour that have remained part of daily life up to date. The volume describes the attempts of an elite interested in creating a united, but subordinated, image of society, and illuminates the diverse mechanisms of imperial expansion. Hospitality plays a crucial role in the hierarchy of travellers presented in the book, with some belonging to the higher classes of society and others unnamed.