Fifty Shades of Dark Stories

Fifty Shades of Dark Stories

Lea Kuznik (University of Maribor, Slovenia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7766-9.ch042
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Dark tourism is a special type of tourism that involves visits to tourist attractions and destinations that are associated with death, suffering, disasters, and tragedies. Reasons and motives for the visit are varied, such as curiosity, learning, memory, horror, survival guilt, nostalgia, and empathy. Dark tourism in Slovenia is very poorly developed compared to the rest of the world. Therefore, the chapter proposes a typology of dark tourism heritage in the world and in Slovenia. The research based on in-depth analysis of literature and fieldwork gives a variety of new opportunities based on storytelling for development of future dark tourism products in Slovenia with emphasis on the design of a dark and innovative thematic trail in connection with witchcraft.
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The term dark tourism was coined by Foley and Lennon (1996: 198) to describe the attraction of visitors to tourism sites associated with death, disaster, and depravity. Other notable definitions of dark tourism include the act of travel to sites associated with death, suffering and the seemingly macabre (Stone, 2006: 146), and as visitations to places where tragedies or historically noteworthy death has occurred and that continue to impact our lives (Tarlow, 2005: 48). Scholars have further developed and applied alternative terminology in dealing with such travel and visitation, including thanatourism (Seaton, 1996), black spot tourism (Rojek, 1993), atrocity heritage tourism (Tunbridge & Ashworth, 1996), and morbid tourism (Blom, 2000). In a context similar to »dark tourism«, terms like »macabre tourism«, »tourism of mourning« and »dark heritage tourism« are also in use. Among these terms, dark tourism remains the most widely applied in academic research (Sharpley, 2009).

The concept of dark tourism is in contrast to marketing slogans that prefer the broader promotional aspect and call this type of tourism »historic tourism«. Major encyclopedias of tourism identify »dark tourism« also as »thanatourism«, in which the core meaning of the term relates mostly to visits to the tombs, cemeteries and memorials of prominent people (Gosar, 2015a).

Although this is a newer type of specialized tourism, researchers can speak as one of the oldest types of tourism, because death is historically always attracted human inquisitiveness. Some kind of organized »thanato tourism« were already gladiator games in the Coliseum of ancient Rome (Gosar, 2015b). Popular festivals in the past have been a public hanging, beheading and burning of witches. Walking and paid visits to the battlefield at Waterloo in Belgium, the place of Napoleon's last battle between the English nobility had been ongoing since the time of the battle in 1815. Therefore the kind of dark tourism has a very long heritage.

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