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Thanatopsis and mortality mediation in "lightest" dark tourism.

Light, D. and Ivanova, P., 2022. Thanatopsis and mortality mediation in "lightest" dark tourism. Tourism Review, 77 (2), 622-635.

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DOI: 10.1108/TR-03-2021-0106


Purpose – This paper aims to investigate the visitor experience at a ‘‘lightest’’ dark tourism attraction, focusing on issues of thanatopsis and mortality mediation. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 24 visitors to a ‘‘Dungeon’’-style attraction in the UK (a site of ‘‘lightest’’ dark tourism). The interviews were analysed using thematic analysis; four themes were identified. Findings – Reflection on, and contemplation of, issues of life and death was a common (but not universal) component of the visitor experience. Four forms of such reflection were apparent: considering absent/present death; thanatopsis (reflection on the self’s inevitable mortality); reflecting on the nature of death and dying in the past; and enjoyment of the opportunity to engage with death without fear in the safe setting of a visitor attraction. Some visitors also reflected on issues of individual and collective morality, in both past and present. Research limitations/implications – ‘‘Lightest’’ dark tourism is not necessarily about shallow experiences. Instead, many visitors are active agents, engaged in acts of making meaning about issues of death and life. This calls for amore sophisticated conceptualisation of such visitors. Originality/value – The mortality mediation model is widely accepted as a way of explaining the experience of visiting places of death but has rarely been subject to empirical scrutiny. This is one of few studies to explore in detail issues of mortality mediation and thanatopsis in the context of ‘‘lightest’’ dark tourism.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Visitor Experience ; Lightest dark tourism ; Mortality mediation ; Thanatopsis
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:36588
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:07 Feb 2022 10:55
Last Modified:19 Apr 2022 14:42


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