Research Output
Pop-ups, Meetups and Supper Clubs: An exploration into Online Mediated Commensality and its role and significance within contemporary hospitality provision
  This thesis introduces the concept of Online Mediated Commensality (OMC) as an example of contemporary hospitality provision. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century an increase of exchanges of hospitality being mediated using online technologies has changed the way in which individuals interact and challenges the traditional boundaries between strangers. While some research has been done on accommodation, little has been researched on the interactions around the meal and the online mediation of experiences.
The aim of this research is to explore the role and significance of OMC and its place in contemporary hospitality provision. Through a detailed review of academic literature on concepts relating to commensality, hospitality, alternative economies and home, a conceptual understanding of the phenomenon was achieved. Due to the paucity of research on the OMC phenomenon, a review of recent non-academic and anecdotal sources (newspaper articles, reviews, books relating to experiences of OMC) was used scope the phenomenon’s contemporary significance. Due to the exploratory nature of this research, and the social nature of the phenomenon, a qualitative approach to research is used to gain insight into the interactions, behaviours and social practices of those participating. Two stages of research material collection are used (Autoethnographic Participant Observation and Discussion-style Interviews) to critically understand and interpret the phenomenon.
The findings identified a number of social practices around the shared meal. Interpretations of the phenomenon resulted in the identification of the ‘Home-food Economy’, in which OMC is placed, which embodies and embraces ethical, shared and innovative dimensions of an alternative economy. Attractions of the phenomenon are identified as being that it is different to mainstream hospitality provision and is strongly associated with ‘traditional’ norms and values relating to family, background, nationality and identity. Interactions and social practices are identified as being fleeting, transient, momentary experiences of hospitality which rarely transcend the setting of the meal. These interactions are conceptualised within a proposed ‘Social Interaction Capital’, which represents the nature of social interactions experienced as well as its presence within a liquid, fluidly mobile contemporary society. The study has identified a social phenomenon which is constructed within the confines, conditions or thresholds of hospitality.
In terms of future implications, this thesis suggests that while OMC will not achieve prominence over mainstream hospitality provision, it will continue to develop and grow in popularity for those who are interested in the more alternative, socially orientated experiences of hospitality and the meal. Further research on OMC could take a global perspective and highlight any cultural/social differences relating to commensality and its online mediation. Similarly, Social Interaction Capital could be further elaborated on in a range of hospitality settings to articulate its reach and contextualisation within hospitality studies and its place within contemporary society.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    01 October 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    GV Recreation Leisure

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    338.4791 Tourist industry

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Urie, G. J. Pop-ups, Meetups and Supper Clubs: An exploration into Online Mediated Commensality and its role and significance within contemporary hospitality provision. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Online Mediated Commensality (OMC), hospitality provision,

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