chapter  2
14 Pages

Exploring the conceptual and analytical framing of dark tourism: from darkness to intentionality


The inter-disciplinary domain of ‘tourism studies’ and paradigmatic divisions between theoretical, critical and functional research (applied foci like planning, marketing, management) present significant barriers to the theory-building task in culture, heritage and tourism research. Consider, for instance, the persistent problem of the micro-level (individual tourist/resident) aspects ending up being treated separately from macro-level (social/political/economic) issues. Micro-level visitor motivation studies may be undertaken using social psychology theories, for instance, while the exoticising and marketing of people and their pasts to tempt visitors to distant ‘remote’ lands (by an array of cultural and marketing intermediaries) come under the critical gaze of macro-theorists studying political economy and institutional structures. One consequence of this disciplinary fragmentation is that the local-global interrelationships of tourism, culture and heritage are under-studied, understated and under-theorised, affecting understandings of tourism as a social and cultural phenomenon, and as an economic and political tool for vested interests.