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England and the culture of achievement: The roots of dark tourism

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Abstract

This investigation evinces how in recent years British Scholars were captivated by exploring dark tourism issues. At a closer look, this country offered a fertile ground for the rise of dark tourism practices while in other regions as Latin America, it failed to be adopted as a main activity. Basically, the goals of this essay review are twofold. On one hand, we review the historic background for England to serve as a platform to thanatology. On another, it situates as an interesting discussion to expand the current understanding on Thanaptosis as finely-ingrained into Protestant World.
Chapter
ENGLAND AND THE CULTURE OF
ACHIEVEMENT: THE ROOTS OF
DARK TOURISM
Maximiliano E. Korstanje
University of Palermo, Argentina
ABSTRACT
This investigation evinces how in recent years British Scholars were
captivated by exploring dark tourism issues. At a closer look, this country
offered a fertile ground for the rise of dark tourism practices while in
other regions as Latin America, it failed to be adopted as a main activity.
Basically, the goals of this essay review are twofold. On one hand, we
review the historic background for England to serve as a platform to
thanatology. On another, it situates as an interesting discussion to expand
the current understanding on Thanaptosis as finely-ingrained into
Protestant World.
Keywords: death, dark tourism, England, achievement, protestant
INTRODUCTION
Although a lot of studies has focused on the motivations and expectances
of tourists who make the decision to visit spaces of disasters, death or
Maximiliano E. Korstanje
2
mourning, places which were recently dubbed as “dark” or Thana-Tourism
destinations (Stone & Sharpley, 2008; Cohen 2011; Sharpley, 2005; Stone
2012; Wilson 2008, Podoshen 2013; Dalton 2014; Heidelberg, 2015;
Korstanje & George, 2015) less attention was paid to the cultural background
of dark tourism. The fact is that United Kingdom seems to be the nation where
a major proportion of these studies originally emerged. Not only attempts to
introduce dark tourism in Latin America resulted in a complete failure but also
never took the gravitation than Northern Europe. At a closer look, what this
essay-review explores is to what extent England culturally offers a fertile
ground towards the spectacularisation of death, which means the symbolic
platform where consuming of death operates. Using Google Scholar the
number of tries reaching Dark Tourism is 125.000 while in Spanish “Turismo
Negro” obtains only 51.800 records. Besides, the number of publications in
journals where English is the main option duplicates to other languages as
Spanish, German or Italian. This created a paradoxical situation since in spite
of this proliferation, there is not shared efforts to define this deep-seated topic.
In this respect, one of the main limitations of specialized literature to
understand the issue consists in a fragmentation of knowledge-production,
which leads to a clear misunderstanding of what dark tourism means. But
things come worse to worst, additional conceptual approaches with focus on
similar meanings as Thana-Tourism (Seaton, 2002), Tragedy-tourism (Verma
& Jain 2013, Doom-Tourism (Lemelin et al, 2010), Macabre Tourism (Dann
1998), War-Tourism (Lisle 2000), Disaster-Tourism (Shondell Miller, 2008),
grief-tourism (Hooper & Lennon, 2017) or even Prison Tourism (Wilson
2008) are used to study the same phenomenon. Doubtless under certain
circumstances this obscures more than it clarifies. Instead of working jointly to
understand the roots of Thana tourism, authors are more prone to coin their
own formulation of concepts and definitions which operationally prevents the
unification of produced-knowledge.
While some experts argue that the visit to dark tourism sites shows the
surfacing of a dormant sadist tendency (Bowman & Pezzulo 2009; Korstanje
2016), others alert that dark tourism serves as a psychological reminder of
tragedy, which is very helpful to accelerate the process of mourning (Wight
2006; Reijinders 2009; Biran, Poria & Oren, 2011; Stone 2013; Raine 2016).
Some recent approaches signal to “heritage dark sites” to allude to the
formation of new emergent destination where death seems to be situated as
“commodity-exchanged” value (Strange & Kempa, 2003; Hartmann 2014).
The concept of “trauma-escape” connotes the idea of an imaginary place
which is visually consumed by the orchestration of different technologies.
England and the Culture of Achievement
3
Combining the idea of trauma with “landscape” these spaces provides viewers
or visitors an authentic experience (Kaelber 2007; de Jong 2007; Begin, 2014;
Tzanelli & Korstanje 2016). In recent years, some scholars called the attention
on the rise and expansion of Virtual dark tourism, a new mode of dark tourism
where the contact is virtually re-channelled. Though this logic defies the
nature of tourism, no less true is that virtual (dark) tourism poses as an
interesting field of research (Novelli 2005; Tzanelli 2015). In a seminal text, J.
Skinner calls the attention on Dark Tourism as a pedagogic instrument to
understand life through the lens of death. He holds the thesis that serious
philosophical interrogations are needed since we are unfit to see what is
darkest or not. Starting from the premise emotions are individually
experienced, to what extent we can say some sites are painful while others are
not, depends on politics. One of the main risks in this type of tourism consists
in the fabrication of heritage elite appeals to construct in order for avoid its
responsibilities from disaster-contexts (Skinner 2012). The narrative of
trauma, far from being historical facts, sometimes are ideologically
constructed to be adopted by the periphery. Last but not last, these allegories
of pain held sway over global audiences which not only never recognize the
roots of past events they are re-memorising, but also leave behind the
intersection of dark tourism and colonial exploitation (Tzanelli 2016). In the
middle of this debate, the present review-chapter centres on England as the
epicentre where original concerns on dark tourism surfaced while explains
why England (and not other nations) paved the pathways for the necessary
cosmology in order for this theory to be flourished.
ORIGINAL DISCUSSION
It is true that though originally the first studies in Thana tourism upraised
in England, today many cultures coming from Eastern Europe retain concerns
of these matters. Professional fieldworkers coming from Slovakia, Poland, and
countries where Nazi Germany established extermination camps have
developed an interesting network to study the intersection of past, trauma and
consumption (Buda & McIntosh, 2013; Tànas 2014; Buda, 2015). Even,
Americans experienced certain fascination on the fact some places hit by
terrorism as Ground-Zero are being recycled as an international attraction
(Sather-Wagstaff, 2011). One of the authorative voices in these slippery
matters, Phillip Stone, contends that through dark tourism people not only
figure their own death, but they shed light on important issues about their
Maximiliano E. Korstanje
4
current lives. In this token, visiting places of mass death has nothing to do with
a sadist trend, but as a valid attempt to mediate with mortality conditioning
Others to explore new sensations and authentic experiences (Stone 2012).
However, Korstanje in his book The Rise of Thana Capitalism and tourism,
has adamantly replied to this observation taking into consideration the
methodological problems of applied dark tourism fieldwork. It is unfortunate
that main fieldworkers gives much credibility to what tourists say instead of
exploring in much deeper issues which remains unchecked. Of course,
tourism-related researchers draw their investigations with focus on what
tourists feel, or simply about certain matter they think. The problem with this
lies in the fact that sometimes tourists are unfamiliar with their inner-world
while in others they are subject to the force of ideology. Whatever the case
may be, tourists in other occasions simply lie to protect their interests. It is
very hard to construct a paradigm on dark tourism centred on what tourists
want or look for alone (Korstanje 2016). Although motivations and
representations are important cognitive force of human mind, many other
qualitative viewpoints extracted from ethnographies and visual analysis are
necessary. Why is this important for professional field-working?.
At a first glance, tourists are considered as the only source of information
in tourist system, however, a lot of voices can be very well consulted.
Secondly, by the administration of obtrusive methods as interviews, or
questionnaires, many consulted visitors respond what researchers want to hear.
Lastly, we agree that tourists visit these sites to understand “death of others,”
“or in quest of cultural lessons, but researchers should pay heed to what
remains covered, to what tourists never answer on. Dark tourism is not the
only source fieldworkers should investigate to understand we live in a society
where death is commoditized as an instrument of discipline, other cultural
entertainment industries as movies, journalism, TV documents emphasizes on
others death to reinforce the importance “of survival. This is main point
ignored by specialized literature in dark issues. As Phillip Aries observed, the
aversion for death in modern societies not only has amplified its impacts on
social imaginary but also bewildered death as never before. If the medieval
man lived a life of privation to rest in peace, modern consumers avoid death in
a pathological way (Aries, 1975; 2013). Furthermore, through all these
investigations, British research plays a leading role not only delineating the
borders of investigation, but forging global networks that imposed the
cognitive maps to forge a centre-periphery dependence. While some
exemplary centers of education as The University of Central Lancashire which
holds a well-famous centre in the study of dark tourism (Institute for Dark
England and the Culture of Achievement
5
Tourism Research) pivots a world-leading position to illuminate other
scholars, in Latin America, Africa or Asia, fieldworkers are certainly limited
to provide with fresh study-cases that validates previous paradigms created in
Northern Europe. Doubtless, dark tourism represents a significant theme of
investigation which is enrooted in the cultural background of England.
Understanding why this happens as well as how it evolved appears to be the
main goal of this essay-review. This raises a more than pungent question, why
dark tourism investigation is monopolized through British universities?, is
England culturally speaking subject to death?
AN INTRODUCTION OF ANGLO-WORLD
Ancient England was formed by many ethnicities which dates back from
V B.C. among these ethnicities Anglos, Saxons, Jutes, Celts and later Normans
coexisted to forge contemporary England. Ethimologically speaking the term
German comes from formula “heer” which means “helmet” and mann (man).
The signification for German (heer+mann) was Warrior or the man at war. In
this respect, these men at arms equalled to Romans in tactics and force. In
Ancient world Germans developed a real war-machine which not only pressed
Celts to the borderlands of Roman Empire, but in many occasions pushed
Romans to decline. What this word denotes is that Germans expanded across
Europe in view of a culture of war which posed death as an important figure of
their cosmology and mythologies. The warriors lived to fight and died to
protect their kinship. The old Anglo-Saxons warriors alluded to a great respect
for their sword and the figure of death (Abels 2013). Death was framed as
significant value of Norse Mythology since it was the platform from where
warriors lived forever in Asgaard.
In this vein, Korstanje (2015) notes that though ancient Germans did not
provide with a conceptual corpus as Romans, they have exerted a heavy
influence in institutionalising Medieval Europeaness. Not only England, but
other nations as well deserves considerable recognition of Ancient Norse
Culture. Quite aside from this, while many voices have pointed out that
capitalism emerged from England because of protestant spirit, as Weber did,
no less true is that little attention was paid to Norse Mythology to understand
the sense of predestination is older than The Reform.
Maximiliano E. Korstanje
6
THE RISE OF PROTESTANTISM
Protestantism is defined as a derived faith from Catholic Church, which is
originated in Protestant reform. Originally this movement was pitted against
the dogma of Catholic Church questioning deeply the rights of “indulgency”
monopolized by Priesthood. While forgiveness was endorsed to privileged
elite whereas pour people was debarred to live in miserable conditions. For
them, poverty far from being a precondition to enter in the kingdom of heaven
was a mechanism used by Pope and Princes to discipline farmers. A wayward
circle of new faiths as Puritans, Anabaptists and Presbyterians radically
criticised the role of priests as mediators between God and his flock. Not
accidentally, the first protestants followed Martin Luther in Germany through
1517 though new emergent voices as John Calvin coupled in France to this
defiant movement. 16th century witnessed how Protestantism expanded in
Europe modifying many of the aspects of catholic faith. In parallel, throughout
England the rupture was given by the conflict Henry VIII maintained with the
pope. Though Anglicanism was initially considered a derived form of
Protestantism, both have further commonalities than differences.
One of the authorative voices and pioneers in discussing the connection of
Protestantism with capitalism was Max Weber. Following his viewpoint, one
might speculate that capitalism was constructed on “Protestant Ethics” which
developed a closed-conception of future. Pre-determination was a key factor to
understand why Protestants embraced capitalism as their first economic
option. For Weber, as well as many cultural analysts, capitalism seems to be
something else than an economic project. It represents a cultural enterprise
which starts from the Book of Life, the sacred book where the names of salved
persons lie. No matter than the individual experience or will, God has
underwritten in this book who will be brought to Heaven and who will be
doomed. From that moment on, unlike Catholicism, Protestants devote
considerable attention to hard-work to distinguish from others cultures as a
“the chosen people. Weber was widely criticized because Holland, a catholic
nation embraced capitalism in the same level than England or Germany
(Weber 2002). Further, Korstanje recently gave a clear diagnosis on the role
played by Norse mythology prefiguring the roots of Protestantism and
predestination. Though Weber did not take the wrong turn in indicating
predestination was the touchstone of capitalism, it was older than he thought.
If he would review the Norse Mythology, he would realize that there is
substantial evidence that validates the belief “predestination” was present in
ancient times. Even, it explains why Holland developed a capitalist ethos
England and the Culture of Achievement
7
earlier than Protestantism (Korstanje 2015). Anyway, what Weber established
is that capitalism brought into the foreground of exception as a main value to
legitimate an ever-increasing gap between have and have-nots. Despite this
point of entry in the discussion was widely documented by post-Marxists,
Weber never situated as a priority for Marxian paradigms. English speaking
cultures seem to be developed “a sentiment of exemption” which is adjoined to
a pathological way of conceiving “death.” The exclusion of book-life entails
one should live without knowing if one is worth to enter in heaven. Eternal
condemnation is pre-inscribed into the biography of man since his birth. There
is nothing to do to reverse future, when God disposed our fate before-the-birth.
This seems to be one of the main problems Puritans are unable to resolve and
one of the reasons behind the “sentiment of exemption” cultivated in America,
which flourished over years up to date (Erikson, 1966). Some interesting
studies in politics have found that “the metaphor of uphill city, which
illuminated the life of Americans during centuries resulted from this closed
conception of future (Lipset 1997; Tyrrell, 1991; Koh 2003; Korstanje 2015).
As Korstanje puts it, exploring capitalism leads us to discuss further on the
roots of Protestantism and predestination because of two main reasons. At a
closer look, capitalism inscribes in a logic of fast expansion which is
proportional to an unjust distribution of wealth. The problem of exclusion, as
well as the material asymmetries produced by capitalism, is ideologically
legitimated by the introduction of social Darwinism as main doctrine. The
world has been created in order to be administered by “the strongest agents” in
which case nature and its principle of selection fits as a ring to the finger. The
theory of evolution as it was formulated by Darwin appealed to the “survival
of the fittest,but it should be tergiversated to “the survival of the strongest”
by eugenicists (Korstanje 2015; 2016). In this context, Protestantism
developed not only a closed view of future, but engendered “an ideology of
exclusion” that made from “self-improvement,” “achievement” and “progress”
its mainstream cultural values.
As the previous argument given, America was built under the doctrine of
exceptionalism which reserves the rights to be nominated as selected people.
In a recent seminal book, Phillip Greven (1988) evinces how protestant
temperament was of paramount importance to establish a cultural archetype in
the civilized America. To better the current understanding of the
Protestantism, model based in three subtypes is presented; since each one
represents diverse forms of adaptation to life Greven adheres to the following
scheme:
Maximiliano E. Korstanje
8
a) Evangelical,
b) Moderate,
c) Genteel.
While evangelicals were dominated by an underlying hostility to self, and
all terrene manifestations, moderates preferred to accept body’s desires as part
of the life. Evangelicals, at some extent, emphasized on the experience of a
new birth because the world is a dangerous place to live. Always at war,
evangelicals become extremists who prioritized the spirit over some other
expressions. Rather, moderates developed a more ambivalent world-view.
Accepting the sin as a form of evolution, moderate-mind accepts that salvation
is gradually achieved. Ultimately, genteel not only shows indifference of the
preoccupations of moderates and evangelicals, but also feels comfortable in
this world. Like the mankind, the world is good, although the personal
salvation is not ensured. The state of grate is achieved by means of piety and
daily life. The evangelical world has been based on two relevant aspects, fear
and love. These recurrent themes emulate the filial relation between gods and
humanity. Forming two persistent poles within American psyche, evangelical
family cosmology was replicated from generation to generation. One of the
main problems of Evangelical discourse seems to be its prone to violence and
conflict, as points of rupture with self and others. Particularly and to any
threats, Americans have developed a symbolic cocoon respecting to a world
which remains hostile in their cosmology. With the passing of time, it
generated a strong “ethnocentrismthat over-valorised the inner life and the
pride for themselves, but pathologically engendered a terrible fear to
everything beyond the boundaries of US. Barry Glassner (1999) has
convincingly argued that Americans and other Anglophones, especially those
in Britain and the settler countries, Australia and Canada, have produced a
culture of terror which induces citizens to a much deeper fear for “otherness”
(Skoll & Korstanje 2013; Skoll 2016).
In earlier works, Korstanje (2014) argued convincingly that risk
perception is higher in English speaking countries than Latin Americans. This
happens because the foreclosure to future adopted by Protestant opened the
doors towards a troublesome aspects of life, death. The needs of avoiding
death paved the ways for the rise of a new pathological action to discipline the
future. Whether risk perception helps English speaking countries to move the
necessary technological background to control the future, in doing so, “the
distress” for not knowing if one would or not be saved once dead was replaced
by “achievement. Over recent years, the society of risk perception as it was
England and the Culture of Achievement
9
imagined by Beck or Giddens, sets the pace to a new stage of production,
which will be discussed in next section, Thana-Capitalism.
WHAT IS THANA-CAPITALISM
The epicentre of Thana Capitalism dates back to the terrorist attack
perpetrated against World Trade Centre in charge of Al-Qaeda, an event
occurred 11 September of 2001. This shocking blow represented a turning
point where Islam radicalism showed not only the weaknesses of West, but
also how the means of transport which were the badge of US, were employed
as mortal weapons directed towards civil targets. Educated and trained in the
best wester universities, these wayward jihadists showed the dark side of the
society of mass-consumption. Many of the steps followed by Al-Qaeda were
emulated from a Management guidebook. All these discussed indicators set
the pace to a more complex scenario, where economy turns chaotic
(unpredictable after financial stock and market crisis in 2008) where the
atomized demands become in a competence of all against all (in the Hobbesian
terms). The Darwinist allegory of the survival of strongest situated as the main
culture value of Thana-Capitalism in a way that is captivated by cultural
entertainment industries and cinema. Films as Hunger Games portray an
apocalyptic future where the elite govern with iron rule different colonies. A
wealthy capitol which is geographically situated in Rocky Mountain serves as
an exemplary centre, a hot-spot of consumption and hedonism where the
spectacle prevails. The oppressed colonies are rushed to send their warriors
who will struggle with others to death, in a bloody game that keeps people
exciting. Although all participants work hard to enhance their skills, only one
will reach the glory. The same can be observed in realities as Big Brother,
where participants neglect the probabilities to fail simply because they over-
valorise their own strongholds. This exactly seems to be what engages citizens
to compete with others to survive, to show “they are worth of survive.In
sum, the sentiment of exceptionality triggered by these types of ideological
spectacles disorganizing the social trust.
It is important not to lose the sight that capitalism signals to the
constructions of allegories containing death prompting a radical rupture of self
with others. Whenever we see ourselves as special, put others of different
condition asunder. In a context of turbulences, the imposition of these
discourses seems to be conducive to the weakening of social fabric.
Thematising disasters by Dark-Tourism consumption patterns, implies higher
Maximiliano E. Korstanje
10
costs the disaster repeats in a near future. The political intervention in these
sites covers the real reasons behind the event, which are radically altered to
protect the interests of status quo. The political and economic powers erect
monuments to remember sudden mass-death or trauma-spaces so that society
reminds a lesson, which allegory contains a biased or galvanized explanation
of what happened. Though at some extent, community needs to produces these
allegories to be kept in warning, the likelihoods the same disaster takes hit
again seems to be a question of time.
In this vein, Thana-Capitalism offers death (of others) as a conduit not
only to revitalize the daily frustrations, but enhancing a harmed ego. Visiting
spaces of disasters during holidays, or watching news on terrorist attacks at
home, all represents part of the same issue: the advent of new class death
seekers.
Some philosophical concerns arise around the role played by technology
in this process. As Richard Hofstadter puts it, not only did capitalism make use
of profits, exploiting the workforce, but also introduced successfully “social
Darwinism,which reinforced the axiom of the survival of fittest as a new
ethics. In other words, we “play the game” because the opportunities to defeat
our opponents are exaggerated (Hofstadter, 1963). The competition fostered
by the ideology of capitalism offers the salvation for few ones, at the expense
of the rest. To realise the dream of joining the “selected people,” we accept the
rules. Whenever one of our direct competitors fails, we feel an insane
happiness. We confirm that a similar mechanism is activated during our visit
to dark tourism sites: we do not strive to understand, we are just happy
because we escaped death and have more chances to win the game of life.
With the benefits of hindsight, George H Mead, one of the founders of
symbolic interactionism, criticized that many readers show a unpleasant
experience at time of reading bad news in newspapers or magazine, but despite
to this, they were unable to stop to do it. He assertively concludes that the self
is configured through its interaction with others. This social dialectic
introduces anticipation and interpretation as the two pillars of the
communicative process. The self feels happiness through the other’s suffering
- a rite necessary to avoid or think about one’s own potential pain. Starting
from the premise that the self is morally obliged to assist the other to reinforce
a sentiment of superiority, avoidance preserves the ethical base of social
relationships (Mead, 2009). Nonetheless, this in-born drive has been
manipulated beyond the limits of a reasonable narcissism.
After all, Mead´s reflections could be applied to the act of visiting dark
tourism shrines. To understand this, we can revert to the myth of Noah and its
England and the Culture of Achievement
11
pivotal role in the salvation of the world in Christianity. Slavoj Zizek agrees
that Christianity needs from to pose a message of self-destruction which is
emulated by Christ to become God. In the core of Christendom is enrooted a
lesson that encourages the betrayal as a guiding value (Zizek 2003).
As this backdrop the myth of Noah, as a founding event, corresponds with
the first genocide which is secretly perpetrated by God dividing the world in
two, victims and witnesses. In sharp contrast with Zizek, we hold the thesis
that the crucifixion of Christ reinforced this long-simmering discourse, where
the principle of selection persisted into the core of Christianity (Korstanje
2016). Not surprisingly, modern capitalism has expanded by the social
Darwinism old ideologies made possible. Whatever the case may be, Noah´s
ark situates as one of the most influencing myths over the last decades. This
legend tells us that God, annoyed by the corruption of human beings,
mandated to Noah to construct an ark. Noah’s divine mission consisted of
gathering and adding a pair per species to his ark so as to achieve the
preservation of natural life. The world was destroyed by the great flood, but
life diversity survived. At first glance, the myth’s moral message is based on
the importance of nature and the problem of sin and corruption. But when
examined more carefully, the myth poses the dilemma of competition: at any
“tournament” or game, there can be only one winner. In the archetypical
Christian myth, Noah and the selected species stand as the only witnesses of
everything and everyone else’s death. We argue that the curiosity and
fascination for death comes from this founding myth, which is systematically
replicated in plays to date, stating that only one can be crowned the winner.
Even, the “Big Brother” show, which was widely studied by sociologists and
researchers of visual technology, rests on this principle. Only few are the
selected ones to live forever on the screen, as is the case in religious myths
such as those of Protestantism and Catholicism (both based on doctrines of
salvation and understandings of death). In fact, the dark tourist experience is
conditioned by a similar premise: a reminder that we, the survivors, are in the
race and our sole purpose is to finish our journey. Still, there is much
discussion on the influence of religion in capitalist ethos. In two must-read
books as Consuming life and Liquid Fear, Zygmunt Bauman reminds that life
has not possibilities to emancipate or gaining further meaning without the
presence of death. For him, the capitalist ethos has altered the mentality of
citizens, who do not even fulfil the function of production automata any
longer. As commodities, workers are today exploited to sustain the principle of
massive consumption, which is encouraged by capitalism. The “Big Brother”
is such an example of how people enter competitions as commodities, to be
Maximiliano E. Korstanje
12
selected and bought by others. Participants in this reality show know that only
one will win, and the rest will “die.” “Big Brother, for Bauman, emulates life
in capitalist societies; it does so by enhancing the lifestyle of the few by
“producing” pauperization for the rest. The modern state keeps in pace with
the liberal market to monopolize people’s sense of security. This does not
mean that states are unable to keep security, but that the market is controlling
consumption by the imposition of fear. If human disasters such as Katrina
show the pervasive nature of capitalism, which allows thousands of poor
citizens to die, the “show of disaster” releases it from the responsibilities of the
event. The sense of catastrophe, like death, serves to cover the inhuman nature
of capitalism (Bauman, 2000; 2008). A new emergent class appeared in times
of Thana Capitalism, whose main features can be explained in the following
points,
They are lovely prone to discuss about events that do not involve
them directly, as the war in Middle East, or the news in 60 minutes.
However, in rare occasions this crystalizes in real help for others.
Death seekers only embrace heritage to understand this time is the
best of the possible realms.
They behave in an instrumental way, using people as means for
achieving their goals. No genuine commitment with others is found.
Serious problems to understand the otherness.
Sites of mass-death, disaster or suffering (Thana-Tourism) are often
selected as the primary destinations for visiting in holidays.
Since they are special, death consumers feel they have the right to
interact with others well-skilled like them.
They do not take part of charitable organizations or political
militancy, unless by what they visually consumed through TV.
Although they boast how altruist they are, they follow individual and
instrumental ends in their life. It opens the doors to dissociation
between what they say and what they really do.
Death seekers entertain witnessing how others struggle. Very open to
mythical conflagrations as goodness against evilness, they
symbolically associate death to “condemnation.” For them, the correct
persons should not die.
Pathological problems to understand death.
Regardless the political affiliation, they embrace “counterfeit
politics,” or the theories of conspiracy.
England and the Culture of Achievement
13
To cut the long story short, Thana-Capitalism, adjoined to Thana-Tourism
only would be feasible in Protestant nations as England. As explained, its
prone to risk-perception helped to alleviate the burden given by
“predestination,” delineating the borders between exemplary centre and its
periphery. This sentiment of exceptionalism which is proper of Anglo-World
has been replaced by new ideological narratives where the other passed to be a
commodity. The question whether the society of risk envisaged “a dangerous
other” goes unnoticed, but in Thana capitalism, the other is incorporated only
through the lens of suffering. This occurs since gazing the others suffering
represents a fertile ground for ego to fulfil of happiness. Envisaging the life as
a long trace, each competitors feel happiness by others death, because this is
the only way to be in competence. Of course, if the sense of predestination
played a vital role in forming this cosmology, no less true was that the dogma
of selection enrooted in Noah‘s ark was fundamental to adopt “social
Darwinism” as the touchstone of Thana capitalism. Researchers concerned by
dark tourism issues should pay heed to this point in order for they to expand
their current understanding. On one hand, if the society of risk alluded to
insurance purchase as a valid way of mitigating risk, in Thana Capitalism there
would be no safer place to be. As the plots of movies as The Purge, or Hunger
Games indicate, we live in a World of solipsism where few wins and takes
everything while the rest of humankind is limited to die with nothing. Without
the natural selection of species, postulated by Darwin, this realm would be
never possible. Participants are more interested by struggling with the Other,
instead of cooperating to defy “the status quo.” Embedded with an over-
exaggerated imprint over their real probabilities to defeat, participants melt
into “the culture of Narcissism” (paragraphing Lasch 1991). This reminds that
if our grand-parents spend their money visiting spaces of leisure as
paradisiacal destinations during their holidays, now new forms of macabre
spectacles prevail. Not only death is everywhere, but “the death of others”
became in the main commodity in times of Thana Capitalism. Consumed in
TV Programs, movies, tourism, or other entertainment industries, death
mediates between social institutions and the solipsism of consumers. In such a
process, England situated as the symbolic epicenter of Thana Capitalism
pivoting the interests of scholars for dark tourism issues.
Maximiliano E. Korstanje
14
CONCLUSION
In Ancient England coexisted Anglos, Saxons, and other German tribes.
Their position to death was culturally determined by the needs of posing war
as the main industry. Odin sent his daughters Valkyries to gather the fallen
warriors to be taken to Valhalla a sacred place where warriors will eat and
drink eternally. This concept was strongly associated to “predetermination”
since the fate of Warrior was indeed determined before their entrance at
battlefront. The concept of predestination mutated over years from Norse
culture to modern England, cementing an aristocratic cosmology which was
based on the doctrine of “chosen people.” Instead of gaining the divine grace
from the day-to-day charity (as Catholics emphasized), Protestant developed a
foreclosed connotation of future which led them to monopolize the
technological breakthrough that facilitated the rise and expansion of
capitalism. Following this argument, 9/11 ignited a new atmosphere where the
old concept of security which raised during the society of risk diluted. In times
of Thana-capitalism, citizens have commoditized in consumers, and their
prone to consumption is superseded by the needs of gazing “disasters, or
spectacle of mass-death. Dark tourism, as emergent segment of new practices
and behaviour are clear indicators (among others) in regards to “the
consolidation of death-seekers.” The apollonian sense of beautiness which
characterised the attractiveness of tourist destinations in the days of Thana
Capitalism, people are interested in visiting space of mass-destruction as New
Orleans, ground zero, or Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Beyond the
interest for these sites, lies “the needs of being exceptional” affirming a
sacred-aura of visitors who understand “capitalism” as the best of possible
worlds. This ideological discourse, which is nourished by Thana-capitalism,
takes from other`s pain a justification that validates “the own supremacy” as
first-world traveler. The same applies for slum tourism and other similarly-
minded forms of tourism. The consumption of death by means of TV
programs and cultural entertainment represents a modern obsession for gazing
mass-suffering which means the self feels happier when others die because in
that way, it avoids to be touched by death. Since the asymmetries created by
Thana Capitalism are not resolved, citizens need to adopt social Darwinism to
understand why few live with much resources while the rest die with nothing.
This suggests that news containing disasters, death or cruelty disturb viewers`
sensibility, they are trapped and cannot escape from the attractiveness of
Thana Capitalism. Tourism and its forms varies on the means of production
pre-existing in society. While decentralized forms of production was adopted
England and the Culture of Achievement
15
in view of the exhaustion of local resources, holiday-makers abandoned sun
and beach products for some macabre forms of relations. Transformed in
commodities, consumers have been transformed in gazed-commodities. At the
same time, dark tourism never questions on the real conditions of exploitation
that facilitated disasters or the asymmetries among classes; rather, it provides
what Baudrillard (1995; 1996; 2003) dubbed as “an spectacle of disaster” to
keep the legitimacy of elite. Not surprisingly, we may very well find answers
in the cosmology of protestant who envisaged salvation for only few souls.
Nonetheless, this is a deep-seated interrogation which needs further research.
Last but not least, this insight far from reviewing the specialized literature in
depth, not only does not represent an attack to any position, or viewpoint but
only offers a valid interrogation to dig the way into the dark tourism direction.
We are aimed at proposing a constructive bridge which would be helpful to
tourism researchers and sociologists interested by these types of topics.
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AUTHORS BIOGRAPHY
Maximiliano E. Korstanje is editor in chief of International Journal of
Safety and Security in Tourism (UP Argentina) and International Journal of
Cyber Warfare and Terrorism (IGI-Global-US). Besides being Senior
Researchers in the Department of Economics at University of Palermo,
Argentina, he is a global affiliate of Tourism Crisis Management Institute
(University of Florida US), Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies
(University of Leeds), The Forge (University of Lancaster and University of
Leeds UK) and The International Society for Philosopher, hosted in Sheffield
UK. With more than 800 published papers and 40 books, Korstanje was
nominated to 5 honorary doctorates for his contribution in the study of the
effects of terrorism in tourism. In 2015 he was awarded as Visiting Research
Fellow at School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds, UK.
His recent books include, A difficult World: examining the roots of
Capitalism, New York Nova Science pubs (2015), The Rise of Thana
Capitalism and Tourism, Abingdon Routledge 2016, Terrorism in the Global
Village: how terrorism affected our lives, New York, Nova Science Pubs
(2016) and Terrorism and Tourism, Studium Press LCC India (2016).
Korstanje is subject of biographical in Marquis Who`s Who in the world since
2009.
KD
... Stone (2010) has also categorized along a continuum, from 'Dark Fun Factories' to 'Dark Camps of Genocide.' Though these typologies are based on how particular sites are marketed and consumed, they are inevitably from a prescriptive, Western perspective (Bowman and Pezzulo 2010), which is symptomatic of a field which has been dominated by British scholarship (Korstanje 2017). Particularly pertinent to this piece is the fact that a digital dark tourist site such as the Ospedale Psichiatrico di Volterra in The Town of Light would occupy an uneasy position within such a spectrum. ...
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