Security, Dark Consumption, and the End of Tourism

Security, Dark Consumption, and the End of Tourism

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0070-5.ch002
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This chapter deals with the paradoxes of security as well as the rise of global risks which today places the tourism industry in jeopardy. Terrorism, lethal viruses, and natural disasters not only affect tourism activity but also changes tourism as we know it. Some voices warn of the end of tourism while others feel fascination for the emergence of new morbid forms. Whatever the case may be, this reflects the failure of risk perception theory and the precautionary principle to protect the industry. Dark tourism offers a unique way for individuals to understand who they are in the world. The premise is that the wisdom gains will liberate people. This liberation is a triumph over the institutionalized versions of liberalism offered by modernity. A content analysis of the visitor records at various dark tourist sites will attest to this. Our fascination with others' death also corresponds with a Darwinist attempt to adapt based on what survived. By means of “thanaptosis,” sites or communities obliterated by natural disasters, catastrophes, traumatic stories, or even terrorism may very well be reconstituted in order for survivors to make senses of these events.
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Neoliberalism is the re-embodiment of the 19th century ideals associated with the laissez-faire economic liberalism. By definition it is neo, meaning it has to keep renewing and reinventing its meaning in accordance with the changing times. Neoliberalism institutionalized the original ideals and branded them with terms like deregulation, privatization, free trade, etc. Classical liberalist economists would not have approved corporations, despite recognizing the downside of leaving everything to the “invisible hand”. They did not anticipate some higher-level authorities (e.g. shareholders) determining the fate of employees in the workplace as the face of liberalism in the future.

In addition, just as neoliberalism meant the curtailment of individual freedom for the elites and the corporations controlled by them, neoliberal forms of tourism have brought in similar changes. It envisages “environmental bubbles”, within the protective boundaries of which, tourists can experience host cultures. It also created classes of people with different degrees and kinds of licenses to the common property resources such as mountains, forests, and beach sides. Classical liberalists would have considered such resources available for the free pursuit of leisure for everyone. The spirit of tourism is liberal, but its conduct in our times is neoliberal. Here two questions arise: are terrorism and tourism both sides of the same coin? is tourism in bias of disappearance?

The shift from liberal philosophies to neoliberal forms of tourism is driven at least partly by the ideology of “Thana-capitalism.” Death, destruction, and doomsday projections drive our society and its aspirations (Korstanje & George, 2012). The birth of various neoliberal forms of tourism could be seen in the light of this. This chapter not only examines the complex interlinkages between neoliberalism, Thana-capitalism, and tourism but also continues the discussion revolving around the precedent ones. So far, we interrogate on the evolution of neoliberalism and the rise of emergent morbid forms of consumption, which left behind the classic tourism products. Though this chapter is philosophical in its content and needs certain patience to be read, readers will find a debate on the impact of neoliberalism in the modern conception of security. We argue that tourism as we know is changing towards new horizons and forms which need further attention.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Dark Tourism: It is an emergent form of tourism where visitors take appearance in spaces of mass-death and mourning.

Disaster Tourism: It is a new form of consumption where visitors are interested in gazing post-disaster spaces.

Thana Capitalism: It is a term formulated by Maximiliano Korstanje to signal to a new stage of capitalism where the Other’s death has transformed the cultural entertainment industries.

Terrorism: It is an illegal act of violence which aims to cause political instability within a society.

Security: It denotes a sentiment of protection which can be imagined or real.

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