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Title: Exploring critical conceptual space in hospitality higher education
Author: Zhang, Kelvin Yihang
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 588X
Awarding Body: Edinburgh Napier University
Current Institution: Edinburgh Napier University
Date of Award: 2019
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This study employs criticality, an intellectual concept embedded in various educational values, to evaluate the degree of criticality currently manifested in hospitality and to engage with 'disciplinary' reflexivity to shed light on the developmental wellbeing of hospitality as an academic subject in higher education. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 55 hospitality academics working in 9 universities, capturing how they interpret criticality in relation to their roles as educators teaching hospitality courses and as researchers conducting hospitality research. Informed by research findings, this thesis makes three analytical claims. Firstly, the conceptualisations of criticality emerged from this study reflected that hospitality, as an academic subject, largely occupies an uncritical conceptual space, whereby it is predominantly understood as the hotel, restaurant and food and beverage sectors, with alternative understandings of hospitality largely missing. Criticality, as an educational concept, is engaged with primarily to foster the conception of a 'competent' hospitality graduate, and that critical research is predominantly meant to solve relevant business-managerial issues impactful to these particular sectors. Secondly, the conceptualisations of criticality reflected an academic community that largely lacks highly qualified scholars with subject-expertise in the study of hospitality. The majority of participants appear to be unfamiliar with the greater conceptions of criticality as an intellectual concept, and that previous practitioner identities appear to be the determining attribute in shaping scholarly activities engaged by the majority of participants. Thirdly, the conceptualisations of criticality revealed a rather unwelcoming academic community, whereby a dismissive attitude was evident towards alternative approaches in the study of hospitality that aim to extend beyond the normative understanding of hospitality as certain commercial sectors. This thesis concludes that such a conceptual space is unhelpful towards the development of hospitality as an academic subject. More importantly, it falls short in relation to the transformative potential of a higher education.
Supervisor: Lynch, Paul ; Barron, Paul Sponsor: Edinburgh Napier University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: hospitality ; higher education ; criticality ; education ; academia ; 378 Higher education ; LB2300 Higher Education