Reconceptualising dark tourism

Avital Biran, Yaniv Poria

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Alongside the growing fascination of tourists and researchers alike with visits to sites associated with death and atrocity (Stone and Sharpley 2008), different terms (for example, black spots tourism, thanatourism or morbid tourism) have been keyed in the attempt to describe, define and conceptualise this social phenomenon. Scholars have commonly adopted the term ‘dark tourism’, first coined by Foley and Lennon (1996) (see for example, Cohen 2010; Mowatt and Chancellor 2011). Nevertheless, the common usage of this term does not suggest the existence of an accepted definition of this social phenomenon. Moreover, there is a general agreement that dark tourism still remains ‘theoretically fragile’ (Stone and Sharpley 2008: 575) and ‘poorly conceptualized’ (Jamal and Lelo 2011: 31). In line with Seaton and Lennon’s (2004) observation that there are more questions than answers in relation to dark tourism, this chapter raises again the question of ‘what is dark tourism?' (Jamal and Lelo 2011: 31). We attempt to challenge the current approach to dark tourism, asking whether experiences considered to be dark tourism, such as visits to Holocaust or slavery-related sites (Miles 2002; Dann and Seaton 2001), the favela of Rio de Janeiro (Robb 2009), Jack the Ripper walks in London (Stone 2006) and the Body Worlds exhibition (Stone 2011a) indeed have something in common?.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Tourist Experience
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts and consequences
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781317605508
ISBN (Print)9780415697422
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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