chapter  10
11 Pages

The cave-homes of Göreme: Performing tourism hospitality in gendered space


Commercial homes can arguably represent ‘the quintessential place of modernity’ as they can be associated with authenticity and ‘the reinvention of a kind of local identity’ (Lynch et al. 2007: 124). Indeed, as tourism has developed in the region surrounding Göreme in central Turkey since the 1980s, local entrepreneurs have developed the use of their cave-homes, in their representation of local place and identity, as tourist accommodation establishments and as tourist attractions. There are two clearly differentiated types of commercial home production in Göreme. The main use of the cavehouses as ‘commercial homes’ is as cave-pansiyons (‘pansiyon’ is the Turkish word for the term ‘pension’ more commonly used throughout southern Europe), or guesthouses and, in these, tourists are mainly hosted by local men as it is these men who own and operate the tourist accommodation establishments. The other type of commercial home in Göreme is more in line with Lynch and MacWhannell’s (2000) idea of ‘backdrop’ homes, referring to the use of houses as visitor attractions. Importantly, it is the women of the village who, whilst being largely separated from the mainstream business of hosting tourists in pansiyons, have embarked on the more informal entrepreneurial activity of showing their private cave-house to tourists in the hope of selling them handicraft items. Based on my ethnographic fieldwork and long-term involvement in

Göreme village, this chapter discusses tourist interest in the cave-houses and focuses in particular on how villager men and women, differentially, have

responded to this interest by performing a ‘cave-dweller’ identity within their home-space. By discussing the two types of ‘commercial (cave) home’ in Göreme, the chapter is intended to highlight the gender influences on the way in which home-identity is performed for tourists in the ‘commercial home’ context. The chapter thus contributes to theory concerning the gendered nature both of tourism hospitality and of hospitality spaces.