Katherine Sobering's "The People's Hotel" and Her Other Great Work | Department of Sociology
December 19, 2023

Katherine Sobering's "The People's Hotel" and Her Other Great Work

Katherine Sobering has accomplished much in these past few years. Most notably, she authored The People's Hotel (Duke Univeristy Press, 2022).

Here's the abstract for the book:

In 2001 Argentina experienced a massive economic crisis: businesses went bankrupt, unemployment spiked, and nearly half the population fell below the poverty line. In the midst of the crisis, Buenos Aires's iconic twenty-story Hotel Bauen quietly closed its doors, forcing longtime hospitality workers out of their jobs. Rather than leaving the luxury hotel vacant, a group of former employees occupied the property and kept it open. In The People's Hotel, Katherine Sobering recounts the history of the Hotel Bauen, detailing its transformation from a privately owned business into a worker cooperative--one where decisions were made democratically, jobs were rotated, and all members were paid equally. Combining ethnographic and archival research with her own experiences as a volunteer worker at the hotel, Sobering examines how the Bauen Cooperative grew and, against all odds, successfully kept the hotel open for nearly two decades. Highlighting successes and innovations alongside the many challenges that these workers faced, Sobering presents a vivid portrait of efforts to address inequality and reorganize work in a capitalist economy.

Here's the link to book: https://www.dukeupress.edu/the-peoples-hotel

In addition to her new book, Dr. Sobering has also recently worked on an art project with Liss LaFleur from the department of Studio Art to create the "Queer Birth Project and They Can't Steal My Joy," where they are applying a critical intersectional lens to queer an important series of feminist art by exploring the childbirth experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the U.S.

For this project, visit: https://irw.rutgers.edu/rejoinder-webjournal/issue-8-textual-sexual-spiritual/614-the-queer-birth-project-and-they-can-t-steal-my-joy

Congrats to Dr. Sobering for her wonderful contributions to the field of Sociology!