Violence and Recreation: Vacationing in the Realm of Dark Tourism



    1. Department of Anthropology
      University of Wisconsin–Madison
      5240 W. H. Sewell Social Science Building
      1180 Observatory Drive
      Madison, WI 53706
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Tourist destinations are typically conceptualized as sites of leisure. However, in recent years places associated with human misery and death have become the focus of sizable touristic interest. This practice, called dark tourism (Lennon and Foley 2000), involves visiting destinations at which violence is the main attraction. Dark tourism includes both places with violent legacies and those at which violence is an ongoing reality. It encompasses a wide variety of visitor motivations—educational, memorial, or recreational. In this article, I take a cross-regional approach to a diverse group of dark tourism sites, from Rwanda and Argentina to the United States and Brazil, considering their aesthetics and the experiences of visitors to contribute to the theoretical exploration of the relationship between tourism and violence.