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I am a Korean single traveller and photographer(..well,,,was..). I've been travelling over 25 countries for 15 years and still keep going. Love art, love music and love dark spirit but currently, yes!! I love money.


Thanatourism vs Dark tourism. I will study the battlefield tourism!

I've been studied and read about dark tourism and I've finished the literature review for the proposal research. (Not for the dissertation...of course). Just like the name of the tourism,-'Dark', this subject made me feel so dark. Because the more I know, the more getting difficult. First I would like to say I will focus on battlefield tourism studies rather than general dark tourism studies.

Dark tourism is not a new phenomenon. In 1996, Lennon and Foley coined the term of dark tourism and so -called dark tourism is being energetically studied and it has become a buzz term within the tourism indusrty.

In 1996, Tony Seaton (A.V Seaton) also coined the term of thanatourism. Well, actually 'Thanatourism' and 'Dark tourism' first introduced in the same academic journal, same issues.- 'International Journal of Heritage Studies'. I don't know the intention of the publisher or the tourism academia. However, the tourism academia uses both terms to explain about the tourism to travel to the sites associated with death, horror and atrocity.

So what is the dark tourism and thanatourism? How different between thanatourism and dark tourism?
The answer is the depend on who defines these terms.

According to Lennon and Foley (2000), they argue that dark tourism is an indication of post modernity. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, interest in death, disaster and atrocity have grown in the tourism industry, with anxieties and doubts toward bringing tourism objectives of modernity. Dark tourism needs to be connected with present experiences and seen by consumers without the matter of chronological distance.

However, Seaton (1999) coins the term of ‘Thanatourism’, which is travel to sites entirely or partly motivated by the sense of death. He classifies different types of Thanatourism depending on tourists’ motivations and behavior.

There are two big arguments and issues in the definition of dark tourism which is coined by Lennon and Foley.

1. They choose the event of Titanic sink in 1912 as a dark tourism starting point point.
2. They do not qualify the battlefield as a dark tourism product because  they argue battlefield events did not take in our living memory and so are less relevant.

However, the journey to battelfield is the main thanatourism product and Seaton  discusses that the phenomenon of travel to sites associated with death and disaster goes back to the middle ages.

In my opinion, due to those arguements and disagrements, so-called dark tourism is being energetically studied. And the tourism academic and researchers have been stidied to find out the reason to the journey to the death sites.

Dark tourism or thanatourism have too broad meaning and definition. Before the term of dark or thanatourism used, the other terms used such as  horror tourism (Tunbridge and Ashworth, 1996), terror tourism (Sunday times, 1997) and ghost tourism!  Dark and thana tourism also can be broken down into cemetery tourism, grief tourism, prison tourism, holocaust tourism, battlefield tourism and genocide tourism.
Also recent researches seems to study to more specific themes.

I am researching the sites where Irish rebellion (Easter Rising) occured and the learders of rebel were executed by British soldiers as dark tourism attractions. I am trying to find out tourists motivations the trip to the death site.

Dark tourism is too broad !! Therefore I will focus on battelfield tourism rather than general dark tourism.


Easter Rising in Dublin

The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic. It was the most significant uprising in Ireland since the rebellion of 1798.

The Rising occurred when Britain and Ireland were at war with Germany. On 24 April 1916, Patrick Pearse, leader of rebellion stood outside the General Post Office in Dublin and read a proclamation announcing the establishment of an Irish republic under a provisional government.

The outbreak of war had persuaded them that in England's difficulties lay Ireland's opportunity. As earlier rebels had looked to France for help, they now turned to Germany, which promised to send arms. In addition to the small Irish Citizen Army, formed in 1913 to defend workers against police harassment, there were thousands of Irish Volunteers, a body formed in response to the Ulster Volunteer Force. Like the UVF, the Volunteers carried out a successful gun-running exploit, landing arms at Howth, near Dublin, a few days before war was declared.

The Volunteers had been infiltrated by members of the IRB, which had secretly fixed Easter Sunday as the date for the rising. The Volunteers' leader, Eoin MacNeill, only discovered the plan on 20 April. Two days later, he learned that a German ship bringing arms had been scuttled. Realising that a rising was doomed to failure, he cancelled all Volunteer maneuvers. Despite this setback, and knowing that their forces would be limited to a modest number of Dublin Volunteers as well as the ICA, Pearse and Connolly decided that a rising must take place, if only as a 'blood sacrifice' to arouse the Irish people.

After the events of Easter Sunday, 1916, the nationalist leaders that supported an independent Irish Republic were all quickly court-martialed, then brutally executed at Dublin's Kilmainham Gaol (prison) by the British.

Despite its military failure - mainly because of the overpowering force of British troops in Dublin - this event, this 'Easter Rising" is rightfully judged as the most significant inspiration in the eventual creation of the Irish Republic.

Sources from


Which research methods might be suitable for my topic? - Quantitative research with questionnaires

After submission 'draft research proposal', I have been considering about methodology. First, I intended to use qualitative approach because I thought the study about tourists' motivation may be required  in dept interview to find out each tourist's motivation and the reason to visit specific sites. Also, many dark tourism studies in UK seems to use qualitative approach - at least journal articles that I've studied-, so I believed that qualitative approach was suitable for dark tourism studies. However, I realised that I was wrong and it was so narrow point of view.

While I studied for my special interest tourism and marketing projects, I read many academic articles which use quantitative methodology. And I started thinking to use quantitative approach to research not only tourists' motivation but also create typologies of so called dark tourists with measurable data to prison museums and cemeteries where Easter rising occurred in Dublin, Ireland. But I was unsure which approaches might fit for my research questions.

However, after meeting my supervisor,  he gave me a simple and clear answer. He also recommended to use quantitative method for researching tourists' motivation for the view of dark tourism. It was clear for me to understand how different methods are possibly able to use depend on the direction of research and what I intend to find out the result.  Therefore, I am going to use quantitative research method for my dissertation topic rather than qualitative method. I need to study more about tourists' motivation and behaviour for the view of dark tourism to have distinctive research because I realised that many tourists' motivation of dark tourism have been researched among researchers.

But, How?

As my research question is: Why particular groups of tourists are fascinated with sites associated with death? I will research tourists behaviour to sites associated with death:  Arbourhill cemetery and Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin.( I will explain in detail about 'Easter rising'  in Dublin in the next post).

I might create tourists' profiles of those sites with measurable quantitative data. I may focus on psychographic and behaviouristic groups rather than demographic group. However, There is a dilemma. Because the sites where the event of Easter rising occured are directly linked to Irish history. Therefore, the analysis of demographical profile may be important to examine who visit these places and why?

Before set the hypothesis, I must make clear the research objectives that I intend to find out the result.

I might be focus on some groups:
1) Visitors who are crucially engaged in these sites ( Irish or Irish American and so on)
2) Visitors who interested in sites associated with death, horror or massacre
3) Visitors who interested in gothic architecture or art
4) Visitors who interested in historically huge scale events
5) Visitors who are affected by recommendation of a travel guide book

I am unsure about detail research objectives and hypotheses yet in this stage. However, for the research method,

I will do 'positivism' for research philosophy - 'deductive'(quantitative) approach - 'survey' strategies - 'questionnaires' for the data collection method.

Nevertheless the decision of research method is vital, I need to make more clear of the research question (again..) and objectives to develop hypothesis.