Tony Seaton's From Thanatopsis To Thanatourism: Death And Tourism

1317 Words6 Pages
What causes people to slow down their cars to gape and stare at a horrific accident scene on the highway? Or why do people sit through hours of horrific or catastrophic events on TV? Could it be the same thing that causes people to visit places that are connected with death and disaster? Is it just mere curiosity or a bizarre fascination with death or the macabre? These are some of the questions that explains why people are fascinated with death and disaster. However, this fascination goes beyond the side of a highway and enters the realm of tourism. Today, numerous sites of death and disaster attract millions of visitors from all around the world: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Anne Frank’s House, Graceland, Oklahoma City, Gettysburg, Vimy Ridge, the Somme, Arlington National Cemetery. The term dark tourism was first coined by two researchers, Malcolm Foley and J. John Lennon, as a means of describing, “…the phenomenon which encompasses the presentation and consumption (by visitors) of real and commodified death and disaster sites”. [1] Tony Seaton coined a similar label in his definitive article, From Thanatopsis to Thanatourism: Guided by the Dark. In it, he describes Thanatourism as being, “…travel to a location wholly, or partially, motivated by the desire for actual or symbolic…show more content…
Individuals regularly turn on their televisions and radios for weather, news and entertainment. In turn, public opinion and behaviour are informed by these sources. The media also has undeniable influence over pubic interpretation of the landscape (Goodey 1986) including sites of dark tourism. According to Lennon and Foley, “…global communication technologies are inherent in both the events which are associated with a dark tourism product and are present in the representation of the events for visitors at the site itself”. Hence, the relationship between dark tourism and the media is thoroughly interconnected.

More about Tony Seaton's From Thanatopsis To Thanatourism: Death And Tourism

Open Document