Dark Tourism Voyeurism of the Macabre

Dark Tourism: Voyeurism of the Macabre

Abdelrahman HamedS147733

Table of Contents

TOC o “1-3” h z u

Abstract PAGEREF _Toc404109158 h 5Chapter One: Introduction PAGEREF _Toc404109159 h 6Introduction PAGEREF _Toc404109160 h 6Background PAGEREF _Toc404109161 h 7Statement of the Problem PAGEREF _Toc404109162 h 8Purpose of the Study PAGEREF _Toc404109163 h 9Aims and Objectives PAGEREF _Toc404109164 h 9Objectives PAGEREF _Toc404109165 h 9Research Questions PAGEREF _Toc404109166 h 10Research Design PAGEREF _Toc404109167 h 10Theoretical Framework PAGEREF _Toc404109168 h 10Chapter Two: Literature Review PAGEREF _Toc404109169 h 13Introduction PAGEREF _Toc404109170 h 13Dark Fun Factories PAGEREF _Toc404109171 h 14Dark Exhibitions PAGEREF _Toc404109172 h 15Dark Dungeons PAGEREF _Toc404109173 h 15Dark Resting Places PAGEREF _Toc404109174 h 15Dark Shrines PAGEREF _Toc404109175 h 16Dark Conflict Sites PAGEREF _Toc404109176 h 17Dark Camps of Genocide PAGEREF _Toc404109177 h 17Psychology of the Dark PAGEREF _Toc404109178 h 18Morality and Dark Tourism PAGEREF _Toc404109179 h 19Chapter Three: Methodology PAGEREF _Toc404109180 h 21Introduction PAGEREF _Toc404109181 h 21Appropriateness of the Research Design PAGEREF _Toc404109182 h 21Research Design PAGEREF _Toc404109183 h 23Participants PAGEREF _Toc404109184 h 24Procedure PAGEREF _Toc404109185 h 25Ethical Considerations PAGEREF _Toc404109186 h 25Internal and External Validity PAGEREF _Toc404109187 h 26Assumptions and Limitations PAGEREF _Toc404109188 h 26Chapter Four: Case Study Narratives PAGEREF _Toc404109189 h 28Case Study One: Battlefields PAGEREF _Toc404109190 h 28Case Study Two: Hauntings PAGEREF _Toc404109191 h 29Case Study Three: Spectacle PAGEREF _Toc404109192 h 31Chapter Five: Discussion and Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc404109193 h 35Introduction PAGEREF _Toc404109194 h 35Discussion PAGEREF _Toc404109195 h 35Exploitation and Social Experience PAGEREF _Toc404109196 h 35Dark Tourism and Psychology PAGEREF _Toc404109197 h 36Morality and Primal Need PAGEREF _Toc404109198 h 37Historical Perspectives PAGEREF _Toc404109199 h 373.0 Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc404109200 h 38Bibliography PAGEREF _Toc404109201 h 41

AbstractDark tourism is phenomenon that is not easily explained. Dark tourism occurs when an individual or group of individuals plan an expedition to a location or event that can be described as engaging with the darker parts of human experience. This can include gore, destruction, death, true events, imagined events, and engaging the supernatural. Through examining the nature of dark tourism and looking at the way in which it can be discussed in terms of morality, a deeper understanding of travel of this nature can be accomplished. The following study included case studies from for individuals who engage in different types of dark tourism. The surprising outcome was to find that none of them were interested in engaging with brutality, but they were all interested in either learning experiences or engaging their own sense of mortality. Even when engaging spectacle, dark tourists are looking for ways in which to express their fears and create thrills by challenging themselves to withstand the horrors that are provided for entertainment.

Dark Tourism: Voyeurism of the Macabre

Chapter One: Introduction

IntroductionDark Tourism is a term that was first used by Lennon and Foley in 1996 as a way in which to describe a relationship that occurs between an interest in concepts of death and violence, and the tourist industry. This can include everything from a tour of a defunct insane asylum to a reportedly haunted house. Places of massacre or murder are sometimes considered tourist attractions as well as the graves of the famous and infamous (Robinson, Heltmann, and Dieke 2011, p. 205). Understanding dark places means understanding the concept of ‘dark’ as it applies to experience. The concept of ‘dark’ is an intersection of history and place, the development of an association to the more macabre parts of human experience with a location in which some type of experience can be created into a tourist attraction (White and Frew 2013, p. 1).

There are a number of different sites that have always attracted tourists due to the types of events that occurred at that location.

The Tower of London and the Bastille in Paris are two of the attractions that combine a sad history with the interest in the dark. The story of the two princes of the York lineage is one that has always fascinated tourists who go to the Tower (Jones 2012, p. 52). The story of the man who was recorded to be kept in a leather mask, the true story behind the Man in the Iron Mask, is one of the fascinating stories that keep interest in the dark side of the Bastille alive (Duncan and Glass 2006, p. 116). The founders of the concept of ‘dark tourism’, The coiners of the phrase ‘dark tourism’, Malcolm Foley and J. John Lennon (1996, 198) wrote extensively about the attraction to the sites involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy in the United States.

The following paper examines the nature of ‘dark tourism’, including the economic benefits to the areas where these sites are located and the morality of voyeurism in terms of visiting these sites and fostering a fascination with these topics. While dark tourism can be a lucrative prospect, how healthy is it for society to support these fascinations with human suffering?


While the term ‘dark tourism’ may only have been applied recently to the concept of visiting the sites of horrible events in history, this has been a form of tourism throughout history. Sites such as Waterloo and Pompeii were visited frequently after the events that made those locations famous were long over. There is an instinctual morbid fascination with that seems to drive visitors to the sites that are violently relevant to cultures (Kottler 2011, p. 63). Pilgrims have visited the location of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth since the rise of the Christian religion. The ruins of the Coliseum, where the death of millions took place in the form of games, is still the site of rabid fascination for tourists. The need to watch the pain and suffering of others was so strong within human beings that in the Victorian era it was common for tourists to visit St. Mary Bethlehem Hospital, also known as Bethlem and Bedlam, in order to view the clinically insane (Robinson, Heltmann, and Dieke 2011, p. 295).

Stone and Sharpley (2008, p. 574) discuss the concept of dark tourism in terms of its consumption. The use of dark tourism opportunities is a very different concept than the desire to consume these experiences. In other words, having them available is not the same as the drive within the tourist to consume them. The researchers discuss the connection between the need for human beings to reconcile their inevitability of death with the fascination with its process. The researchers contend that dark tourism is a way of confronting death in modern society where death is typically not a common experience with the ‘civilisation’ of society in terms of war and violence (Raine 2013, p. 243) .

On the other hand, the locations pick up on the desire for consumption and exploit that need. Tarlow (2014, p. 57) writes that a location will exploit the advantages that they have in order to create demand. Thus, the demand may not always be located in the side of the tourists, but may be stimulated in terms of the needs of the location. Creating a tourist attraction around the macabre is as much a foundation for the exploitation of violence and the macabre as the desire for consumption. The location has an economic need to fulfil and will find a means through which to exploit its local history in order to take advantage of what they have to offer in terms of local economic support.

The development of ‘dark tourism’ then is a combination of both the locality of the sites that are exploiting their history for economic benefit and the sociological expressions and relevance of death in modern human experience (Stone 2011, p. 257).

Problem and Purpose

Statement of the ProblemUnderstanding the human drive towards dark tourism is essential in order to understand how to conceptualise how dark tourism fits into social experiences. Examining human history and its relationship to mythology is at the centre of dark tourism which needs to be understood in terms of why tourists are attracted to dark entertainment. Location and belief systems come together to formulate an attraction that tourists believe will provide them with satisfaction. Understanding how this operates is essential to understanding the problem of dark tourism and whether or not morality can be assigned in terms of providing this type of entertainment.

Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of this study is to examine the way in which dark tourism is a part of the tourist industry and the morality that informs the public about how these venues provide service to tourists.

Aims and ObjectivesAims

The aim of this paper is to explore the topic of ‘dark tourism’ as a phenomenon on the tourist industry. The paper will explore the various elements of this subject in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of this kind of tourism on both the industry and on society.

ObjectivesThe following is a list of objectives that will frame the scope of the topic of the aim of this paper:

To look at the various types of ‘dark tourism’ that exists under this heading in the industry.

To look at the various locations that are popular attractions within ‘dark tourism’.

To understand the historical relevance that ‘dark tourism’ offers in contrast to the macabre effect of voyeurism and exploitation of violent or gruesome events.

To look at the sociological aspects of the phenomenon of ‘dark tourism’.

To look at the economic impact of the phenomenon of ‘dark tourism’.

To create an analysis of the concept of ‘dark tourism’ in order to weigh the benefits to the economy against the morality and social impact of exploiting and attending ‘dark tourism’ locales.

Research QuestionsThe following research questions will frame this inquiry:

How are dark tourism opportunities exploited in terms of social experience?

What connects dark tourism to the psychology of travel?

Should society have concerns over the morality of the experiences of dark tourism?

How might dark tourism fulfil a primal need in the human experience?

How does dark tourism contribute to historical perspectives in travellers?

Research DesignThe research for this study has been designed based on a thorough examination of literature and the development of an case studies that relate to dark tourism. Previous research has been reviewed so that meaning can be discovered through elements that will relate to the research questions. The case studies have been developed through interviews with four different individuals who have different types of attraction to dark tourism events and places.

Theoretical FrameworkThe topic of ‘dark tourism’ will be examined through evaluating the phenomen as a subject. Apostolopoulos, Belvadi, and Yiannakis (2011, p. 310) discuss the use of a phenomenological perspective in terms of tourism as based on the host – guest encounter. In this relationship the framework of the motivation of tourists is based on the discourse of promotional material which has been provided in order to create interest based on provisions by the host. They also discuss the ethnomethodology which provides a ‘candid camera’ approach in order to investigate the assumptions made about human action and discourse which can be applied to touristic stereotypes and the clichés that have been adopted in terms of expectations of attendance (Hilbert 2001, p. 67) .

Apostolopoulos, Belvadi, and Yiannakis (2011, p. 312) also discussed the concept of fantasy as it relates to the phenomenon of tourism. Symbolic interactionism allows the researcher to have an opportunity to analyse themes which can rise above the gratuitous assertions that are made in terms of stereotyping. Tourism allows the moment of these self in the theatrical context rather than the self in everyday life to be examined. In terms of dark tourism is clear that the theatrical context is a highly important part of the way in which the experience is interpreted. Apostolopoulos, Belvadi, and Yiannakis (2011, p. A12) go on to describe a situation in which sincere and cynical performances, performance blunders and team performances, and deference and demeanour, are all part of the analysis in terms of the variety of actors that appear on the tourism stage. The theatrical nature of dark tourism is it explicitly relevant to the way in which the phenomenon occurs.

Botterill and Platenkamp (2012, p. 143) discuss Cohen’s five modes of experience which occurred during the process of the tourist earning. The first two modes relates to understanding the pleasant escape in relationship to everyday life. In these modes tourists are looking for valuable elements which are outside of the realm of their everyday experience. Escapism becomes more sophisticated in the subsequent modes in terms of creating alienation to everyday life. Wearing, Stevenson, and Young (2010, p. 24) breakdown Cohen’s five modes and identify them as recreational, diversionary, experiential, experimental, and existential. Tourists who look for each of these types of experiences are usually immersed in different worldviews which will predict the relationship of their home society in terms of the concept of ‘otherness’. Williams (2011, p. 14) discussed Cohen’s breakdown of tourists into four groups. The first group is based on organize mass tourists who go to familiar places instead of looking for novelty. Familiarity is reinforced by the types of services that are expected in the goods that are provided. The second group is based on individual or small groups which will structure trips on their own rather than expecting outside itineraries to be created. The third group are considered explorers who arrange the details of their trips on their own and are seeking novelty and the unexpected. The fourth group are culture stirrers because they do not really see themselves as tourists. These are travellers who are traveling for purposes other than entertainment and may be looking for new patterns of travel that become part of the tourism industry.

The motivation behind why travellers are motivated to go on these tours are many. However there are some suggested reasons to be cautious about linking types of travellers to their motivations. Making assumptions about travel where the external and the internal are linked should be limited because patterns and behaviours are not always determined by the obvious (Woodside and Martin 2008 and, p. 14). Where mass tourism and individual tourism requires infrastructure development, those who choose to pioneer tourism may be doing so in order to develop the value for the mass and individual tourists. Motivation may be linked to a wider understanding of the issue that would lead towards a deeper and more complex set of reasons for travel.

Chapter Two: Literature ReviewIntroductionThe concept of ‘dark tourism’ is based on the visitation and experience of places of memory where odd occurrences, the macabre, and locations of great violence create an attraction to tourists (Novelli 2012, p. 48). The voyeuristic nature of the experience, the exploitation of tragedy and historical human suffering creates a unique dynamic in terms of tourism activity (Young and Whitty 2013, p. 64). This literature review examines the various places throughout the world that are historic in terms of this kind of visitation, as well as more recent entries into the ‘dark tourism’ world.

It is important to identify the difference between dark tourism and grief-based activities. As an example, a family that visits a cemetery is not participating in dark tourism. As well, people visiting a landmark that relates to their own cultural history which has a tragic connotation does not really fall under the category of dark tourism. However it can fall under this category when it becomes an event that takes place as active tourism (Dann 2002, p. 78: Dale and Robinson 2011, p. 54)). Lennon and Foley (2002, p. 65) discuss dark tourism as the commoditization of doubt and anxiety which forces tourists to face the question of their own modernity in relationship to tragic events. It is the travels that are undertaken which force an individual to face truths and myths about that.

Seven Types of Dark Tourism

Dark Fun FactoriesStone (2006, p. 146) defines the concept of ‘dark fun factories’ as places that are focused on entertainment which provide fictional death scenarios and macabre events with the purpose of engaging the darker side of human life with the nature of entertainment value. Stone and Sharpley (2009, p. 169) go on to discuss the concept in terms the ‘lighter’ side of dark tourism. Another way to describe this is the term ‘fright tourism’ which refers to the idea that what is suspected to be a supernatural relationship within a certain area is then turned into an entertainment with that realization existing. An example of this type of tourism then you is the Ghost Walk tourist in Edinburgh. These tours consist of walking through areas that are believed to be haunted and then the venue providing those hot experiences through fictional incarnations. Both the commercialization of Dracula in Transylvania and the witch trials of Salem Massachusetts in the United States are examples of attractions that feed off of dark tourism perspectives with an industry built around them that is now entertainment (Heuermann and Chhabra 2014, p. 214).

Although the examples used depict geographical locations where fun factories are built around expectations about those locations, there are also amusement centers that are built with the intention of using fear as entertainment. Stone and Sharpley (2009, p. 169) write that “more generally, lighter dark tourism occurs when narratives of fear and the taboo are extracted and packaged up as fun, amusement and entertainment and, ultimately, exploited for mercantile advantage”. A good example of this is in the United States where Universal Studios both in Orlando Florida and Hollywood California be in use the event of Halloween as an opportunity to re-create their theme parks into haunted house venues with extreme fear being the attraction (Gomery 2006, p. 52).

Dark ExhibitionsWillles (2014, p. 137) describes the act of creating an exhibition as a way of capturing the essence of a narrative in terms of a visual presentation that tells the story. It involves spectatorship as a sensory and aesthetic form of experience. Sorting and categorizing is done for the spectator so that they can engage with what is offered in more meaningful way. Exhibition is the act of creating snapshots of what occurred so that it can be translated into an experience.

Dark DungeonsThe emphasis on the concept of the dark dungeon is on incarceration. Dark tourism which occurs where incarceration has been the focus of the historical event is considered the dark dungeon experience because it really is not about death or battlefields, but it is about the experience of individuals who have been treated in ways that can be often considered brutal. POW camps are an example of dark dungeon experience. Developing these places as tourist attractions is a delicate matter because the clinical and cultural factors that weigh into how they operate is crucial in creating a sense of neutrality while at the same time acknowledging the events that occurred (Hudson 2008, p. 84). Mylum and Carr (2013, p. 326) write that the recognition of POW sites and material culture as heritage to be managed and, on occasion, exploited can be associated in part with the growth of interest in memory and the relationship between past and present”. The development of these areas as attractions for tourists is based primarily on the idea of historic reference, but it is possible that they are sometimes used and exploited it a way that is based on an interest in the macabre and on violence.

Dark Resting PlacesDark resting places are locations where death and the remains of life become a place of interest. Dark resting places can be associated with individuals whose gravesites are important to certain groups as much as hauntings in locations where is suspected that violent death occurred. There are some places that are mythically referenced in terms of the types of deaths that occurred (Conrady and Buck 2011, p. 78). As an example, insane asylum that is enclosed down will often be associated with both the death and the brutality that occurred within those walls (Joly 2014, p. 53). In that case, the attraction may be associated with the dark dungeon paradigm or it could be associated with dark resting places. Graveyards, mausoleums, and even the sites of mass deaths can all be considered dark resting places (White and Frew 2013, p. 156). Jim Morrison’s grave in France, the aboveground cemeteries of New Orleans, and the sewers of Paris all can be considered dark resting places that are attractive to tourists.

Dark ShrinesDark shrines are memorials that attract visitors due to their significance. An example of dark shrines can be seen in Northern Ireland where memorials in the region of Belfast and Londonderry/Derry have been erected in order to commemorate specific events. As an example, the hunger strike that was established by Bobby Sands is commemorated by the place him where he and his followers are buried in Milltown Cemetery. In Catholic Falls Road and Protestant Shankill Road lie the ‘black’ taxi tours where tourists are given the opportunity to see the evidence of the war. Northern Ireland can be discussed in terms of its political tourism destination because of the maintenance of specific symbols, icons, and locations which commemorate the past. Murals can be seen that commemorate the events past from both sides of the conflict, creating the sense of tension from what has occurred (Butler and Sunbkul 2013, p. 189).

One of the most recent ways in which dark shrine has been erected as occurred in New York City where there are efforts going on to commemorate the events of 9/11 2001. As this begins as a location of conflict, because of the efforts to commemorate the events it becomes a shrine. In the process of creating a shrine of the location, but that of 9/11 take on something more than what is usually assigned to those who have passed. The location of the shrine links living with the dead, but also creates a means of steering seen the impact of mortality and questioning that (Stone and Sharpley 2014, p. 92).

Dark Conflict SitesThe events in Northern Ireland also provide a location for conflict sites. The Civil War in the United States has locations where battles took place they can be visited by tourists. This also exists in relationship to World War I, World War II, and any of the conflicts that have happened in the last several hundred years. The more recent the conflict, the more likely there is a tourist opportunity that has been exploited. Northern Cyprus has constructed dark tourism attractions because of the recent war between the Greek National Guard and Greek Cypriots (Bramwell 2003, p. 133). Where commercialism is now a part of almost every facet of life, tourism becomes one of the first ways in which location is exploited once an event has passed.

Dark Camps of GenocidePlaces where people have been killed in mass often attract a wide variety of different types of interest. For the most part, these places attract the living that have a connection to those who died in several places. As an example, concentration camps from World War II often attract the relatives and descendants of those who either died or had to spend time in these terrible places. Sometimes these places attract the interests of those who are outside of the collective have connections to those who suffered. This fascination with death in terms of understanding how and why these events occur can manifest with respect as much as it can be exhibited through a lack of respect. The attack on fear can be a part of the experience as much as commemorating and honouring the memory of what has happened (Stone and Sharpley 2009, p. 132).

Psychology of the DarkLooking at the psychology of dark tourism can be difficult because the audience has a wide range of motivations for undertaking these types of travels. There is a gap in the research concerning consumer practices and motivations that needs to be addressed in order to fully understand how dark tourism fits into the average tourists explorations as well as the dark tourism enthusiast (Singh 2004, p. 81). The study of psychology has yet to completely reveal why certain types of fascinations with aversive value become important in terms of entertainment (Zelick 2007, p. 43).

Wight (2006, p. 120) discusses the emerging trend of dark tourism and how it has created a controversy of morality in terms of perspectives. Most research that has been done on dark tourism has been qualitative, but there is a quantitative element that could be used under certain circumstances with a broad participant group. The problem of quantifying the psychology of dark tourism is that the motivations are widely variable and not well understood in terms of general psychology.

One of the ways that Cohen (2011, p. 193) explore dark tourism was through qualitative study that included case research on visitation to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem. This type of visitation is considered spiritual and is motivated by a need to honour or remember what occurred as a cultural experience. One of the things that was discovered was that location was highly important in terms of creating this experience. The reasons for dark tourism are at the core of understanding its nature. Understanding location is a central concept in understanding how and why dark tourism events take place.

Skinner (2012, p. 41) discusses the concept of curiosity in terms of dark tourism. Curiosity is the motivating factor for many travellers who seek out a dark tourism location. Ryan (2012, p. 4) defines the concept of curiosity through discussing motivation as a phenomenon that exists as a function of learning. Most of the motivations listed for travel to dark destinations is based on the fulfilment of curiosity.

Goldberg and Crespo (2004, 42) discuss the variety of behaviours that are associated with right and wrong. Using the example of the present, the behaviours and prison where they are brutal to one another and even kill each other are in conflict with what would be the best possible situation in which to exist in this microcosm. The answer is because right and wrong becomes a reflection of power in terms of how to maintain it and support its growth.

Sheldon, Kashdan, and Steger (2011, p. 102) discuss curiosity from the external perspective as an important instinct which drives people towards institutions of brutality in order to understand the internal functions. This is suggested to relate to how the internal functions become a structure on how the individual structures their belief systems and rituals in order to accept or deny those foreign institutions. In some instances, dark travel is a way in which to access the social construction of power within those locations that would otherwise not be a part of social functions.

Morality and Dark TourismWilson (2008, p. 31) discusses the concept of prison visitation where the prisons have been shut down as a means of expressing an understanding of the past. Social and antisocial behaviours are all part of the mix that creates the social environment. Choosing to visit a place where the immoral were likely treated with immoral authority provides a sense of humility and humble reflection for many of the visitors to these locations. Places like the tower of London, the Bastille in France, and in the state penitentiary on Alcatraz Island in the United States all create fascination for those who wish to see in person the state of the lives of prisoners.

This strange balance between the immorality of antisocial behaviour that results with incarceration been balanced against the immorality of some of the ways that people were treated when in prison becomes a point of controversy and discussion among travellers. Moody – Adams (2012, p. 64) discusses the concept of place such as concentration camps or torture chambers in terms of manipulative exercises in power which eliminates variety within internal institutions. Control, standardization, and surveillance are all part of daily rhythms that people on the outside of these institutions would not normally tolerate. Visitation to the sites becomes interesting because of the structures in which people live their lives that people on the outside do not have to function within on a daily basis.

Stone (2012, p. 1567) discusses the concept of the death of the significant other as relates to dark tourism. When a significant other person dies in a tragic way that is attached to a specific event and/or location, then ritual and memory can become tied to that location. While almost everyone will tie the significance of the date to the development of an attach ritualistic process of grief, some people attach a location because of an event or tragic occurrence. In this case, there is no moral question about the way in which dark tourist travel occurs. Social systems that are related to grief provide for understanding in terms of location-based ritual expression when it concerns the passing of a loved one.

Chapter Three: Methodology IntroductionThe purpose of this study is to understand the connection between morality and dark tourism. The interests of the public are often aligned with moral evaluation that determine what is it is not appropriate behaviour dark tourism is often a part of these collective memory of the culture where terrible things have occurred. However, some dark tourism is based on establishing a connection with death in a way that in the public interest.

Searching relevant literature and making connections between social research and research in tourism provides an opportunity to understand human investigations into death and violence as it is balanced against spectacle and warriors. In working with the relevant research, this study has established patterns that reveal insight into morality and dark tourism.

Appropriateness of the Research DesignHermeneutic science is based on the idea that the researcher thoroughly examining text so that tension meaning becomes understood. This formulates relationships between aspects of human experience in order to develop conclusions based on literary – historical analysis. Moustakas (1999, p. 9) writes that “this interrelationship – the direct description of experience and the underlying dynamics or structures that account for the experience – provides essential meaning unity that enables one to understand the substance and essence experience”. Reflective understanding of the text provides a means through which to understand the phenomenon as you explore further than just what discipline in order to create conclusions.

Moustakas (1999, p. 4) wrote that qualitative approaches in science can be focused where the research seeks to unravel element of experience. The interrelationships of these elements developed an understanding of the meaning of experience as well as the nature of a particular group of people that exists within a particular setting. Th