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Philosophical and methodological praxes in dark tourism: Controversy, contention and the evolving paradigm

Wight, A. Craig



The following article will examine examples of current and theoretical issues in academic and related literature written on the subject of what has been variously referred to as ‘dark tourism’ (Lennon and Foley1), ‘thanatourism’ (Seaton2) and sometimes, ‘atrocity heritage’ (Beech3). Although much has been written on these subjects, little comment has been made on the types and relevance of research methods and analytical frameworks used in existing academic enquiry. The article comments on a cross section of publications written on this subject in the context of philosophical issues, research methodologies, emerging paradigms in the topic, contemporary debate and controversies. An introduction to ‘dark tourism’ is presented followed by a broad definition that considers the apocryphal issue of the origins of this subject in academic debate. Reflections on current research are presented, specifically research into issues of visitor interpretation and the representation of themes to the visiting public which can be considered ‘dark’. A key observation is that most research in dark tourism has been qualitative in terms of methodologies adopted by researchers given the relevance of conceptual sociological issues that have arisen out of academic debate. However, the article finishes by considering potential usage of quantitative inquiry that could logically build upon the emerging, qualitative-driven paradigm. This article draws on an understanding of various approaches to research including epistemological and ontological positioning and the justification and application of research methods as they relate to findings.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Nov 6, 2016
Publication Date 2006-04
Deposit Date Nov 9, 2022
Journal Journal of Vacation Marketing
Print ISSN 1356-7667
Electronic ISSN 1479-1870
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 119-129
Keywords authenticity, dark tourism, interpretation, qualitative research, quantitative research, methodologie
Public URL