Battlefield sites as dark tourism attractions: an analysis of experience

Miles, S. (2014) Battlefield sites as dark tourism attractions: an analysis of experience. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 9(2), pp. 134-147. (doi: 10.1080/1743873X.2013.871017)

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Abstract

There has been much discussion by scholars about the efficacy of the term ‘dark tourism’ with a call to move from a theoretical to a more evidence-based approach to research. Recent analyses of dark heritage sites have shown that research has yet to engage fully with the experiences of tourists at dark sites. This paper seeks to meet this challenge by providing more evidence of the actual experiences of tourists at those sites which are conceptually identified as ‘dark’ using the particular example of battlefields in the UK. Based on a wide-ranging survey of battlefield sites the study used a blend of quantitative and qualitative methods to determine the nature of tourist experience. Central to this was a content analysis of visitor comments and vocabulary used to describe the sites. The results showed that visitors had a wide range of experiences but there was no evidence of a considered appreciation of the sites’ ‘darker’ aspects. Visitor experience here is casual and dominated by a lighter set of values. This is affected by the commercial nature of the sites which supports the assertion that thanatopsis is a rare feature of tourist visits.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Miles, Dr Stephen
Authors: Miles, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Journal of Heritage Tourism
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1743-873X
ISSN (Online):1747-6631
Published Online:27 January 2014

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