Confronting mortality moments: death, dying and the consumption of dark tourism

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Abstract

Dark tourism is the act of travel and visitation to sites, attractions and exhibitions that (re)present death, disaster or the seemingly macabre. The phenomenon has received increasing media and academic attention, especially within the context of consumer behaviour at such ‘dark sites’, and the potential relationship of dark tourism with wider notions of death and dying. This paper examines the relationship between dark tourism consumption and mortality within contemporary society. Adopting a conceptual framework as proposed by Stone and Sharpley (2008), dark tourism and its relationship with contemporary mortality are explored, and in doing so, particular consequences for individuals’ ontological security and personal meaningfulness are highlighted. The role of education and the notion of memorial, as well as media influences, are considered within dark tourism consumption. Moreover, the paper suggests particular motivators may exist for ‘dark tourists’, including, but not limited to, mortality contemplation. Ultimately, however, the paper suggests that wider ontological and thanatological themes may be consequential to a ‘dark tourism’ visit, rather than being a primary motivating factor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-59
JournalDiffusion
Volume1
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Dark Tourism
  • Thanatourism
  • Death
  • Society
  • Thanatology
  • Ontological Security

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