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Current Issues in Dark Tourism Research


Volume 1, Issue 1, 2017

August 31, 2017

Ethical quandaries of tourism at sites of death or disaster are a defining feature of what has become commonly known as ‘dark tourism’. Indeed, the moral implications of touristic visits to sites of death or sites associated with death have received a considerable amount of commentary over the past twenty years or so.  Yet the moral panic that often surrounds the ‘dark leisure’ experience and the apparent deviance that it may create is not straightforward. In this essay, therefore, I critically examine the construction of morality against a socio-cultural backdrop of secularization and individualization. In so doing, I argue that dark tourism and deviant leisure is neither dark nor deviant. Instead, I contend dark tourism places can embody and even strengthen notions of human connectivity, translate ethics and reconfigure boundaries of morality and, ultimately, create ontological meanings for the secular Self.

July 31, 2017

Ghosts are returning to the feast and are resurfacing and multiplying in a multitude of dark tourism sites across the world. Therefore, this paper reviews a history of the Western deathbed and, consequently, locates dark tourism as a modern way of mediating significant Other death. In so doing, the paper offers a thought-provoking account of dark tourism as ‘spectacular death’ whereby issues of (re)ritualization, visualization, and commercialization are secular hallmarks. The paper argues that dark tourism helps usher in a new death mentality where death is now revived in the public domain and consumed as a commodity. Ultimately, dark tourism means that we do not face the Grim Reaper directly but, instead, we consume the mortality spectacle of significant Others.

June 30, 2017

This paper reveals the key themes and issues of dark tourism as both a research concept as well as an empirical practice. The paper offers a rudimentary outline of the main research themes, issues and consequences of dark tourism, as well as stating a definition of the term. Ultimately, the paper provides an overview of dark tourism as a contested concept, as well as an academic lens in which to scrutinize ‘difficult heritage’. 

June 30, 2017

This paper offers a brief critical insight into the moral perils of dark tourism. Using a Lithuanian visitor attraction – ‘1984: Survival Drama’ – as a contextual example, the paper outlines key features of the ethics of ‘doing dark tourism’. In particular, the paper locates the morality of dark tourism within broader issues of political and social responses of producing and consuming ‘difficult heritage’.

June 30, 2017

This article outlines the increasing dereliction of the (Western) industrial landscape and, as a result, how industrial ruins convey broader socio-political messages. As industrial ruins become 'attractive' within the visitor economy and popular for 'urban exploration', industrial ruins narrate memories from the past and suggest complex intersections of how things were and how things have become. 

June 30, 2017

An in-depth written interview with Dr Philip Stone, Executive Director of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research (UK). Dr Stone is internationally recognised for his research into 'dark tourism' and 'difficult heritage'. In this interview, Dr Stone reveals some key trends and research avenues for dark tourism scholarship, as well outlining some of his personal views about this emotive research area.  

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