The Growing Quandary of Dark Tourism


Via Pacific Standard: ‘The moral quandary with Dark Tourism is rather obvious: Is this an industry that seeks to profit from the suffering of others or educate those still living among us?’

Related: IDTR: ‘Dark tourism as the act of travel to sites of or sites associated with death has gained significant attention with media imaginations and academic scholarship. There is a growing body of literature on the representation and tourist experience of ‘deathscapes’ within contemporary visitor economies. As such, dark tourism is now a recognisable field of academic study, which include interdisciplinary perspectives of the ‘darker side of travel’ in sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, geography, thanatology, and business management.

The Institute for Dark Tourism Research iDTR, based at the University of Central Lancashire UK and led by Dr Philip Stone, is a world-leading academic centre for dark tourism scholarship, research and teaching.

Dark tourism as an academic field of study is where death education and tourism studies collide and, as such, can shine critical light on the social reality of death. Dark tourism can also reveal tensions in cultural memory, interpretation and authenticity, and political and moral dilemmas in remembering our ‘heritage that hurts’. Dark tourism is also a recognised research brand in which scholars around the world can locate and analyse a diverse range of death-tourism related sites and tourist experiences.The iDTR promotes ethical research into the social scientific understanding of tourist sites of death, disaster, and atrocities, and the tourist experience at these places. Dark tourism is not simply a fascination with death or the macabre, but a multi-disciplinary academic lens in which to scrutinise fundamental interrelationships of the contemporary commodification of death with the cultural condition of society.’