Relational Work in Lifestyle Enterprising : Sustaining the Tension Between the Personal and the Commercial
Erika Andersson Cederholm
Summary, in English
This article focuses on the negotiated distinction between commercial and non-commercial spheres of life through the phenomenon of lifestyle entrepreneurship. Lifestyle entrepreneurship is a concept used for a form of self-employment, based on the business owner´s own hobby or lifestyle. The article is based on a study of lifestyle enterprising in the tourism and hospitality industries in southern Sweden. The study comprises ethnographic interviews, field observations, and go-alongs with owners of small businesses that can be described as commercial homes, such as bed & breakfast and farm stay. The article uses the context of lifestyle entrepreneurs to theorize and discuss the dynamics of blurring and/or marking the distinction between personal and commercial relations. The theoretical point of departure is the notion of relational work in combination with the notion of sociological ambivalence. By combining these two strands of literature it is argued that the business owners´ narrative practices sustain ambiguity and blurred boundaries, rather than draw lines, between commercial and non-commercial spheres. It is also argued that lifestyle-oriented work identity constructs a friendship-oriented form of service encounter, reinforced by a market where emotional closeness emerges as an experience product.