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Title: Dark tourism and other death : mediating relationships in contemporary society : a transactional analysis
Author: Roberts, Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 1263
Awarding Body: University of Central Lancashire
Current Institution: University of Central Lancashire
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis presents a transdisciplinary response to ongoing academic discourse around dark tourism and indicated research directions toward (a) touristic experience and agency and (b) psychologised contexts. The thesis challenges extant binary paradigms of tourism through an analysis of existing conceptualisations and subsequent application of alternative holistic approaches within its research methodologies. Hence, it contributes to developing lines of enquiry regarding affective touristic experience, agency, relationships, roles and narratives. Within the study, themes and attributes of dark tourism are correlated with key psychological and psychoanalytical concepts including archetype, drive and ritual to support and inform a conceptual framework based on the principles of Transactional Analysis (TA), particularly the concepts of ego states and crossed/complementary transactions, representing a new line of enquiry within the discourse of dark tourism. The application of specific precepts of TA supports a new approach to understanding touristic experience through the identification and analysis of behavioural, verbal and textual transactions (actual and virtual) and the Parent/Adult/Child ego states at play within them. The study models this approach in analyses of transactions observed and/or expressed at the case study site, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, and in online TripAdvisor reviews, and describes the relevance of these findings to understanding contemporary visitor experience at dark tourism sites. Responding to perceptions that visitor experience and new media are underrepresented within the extant literature, the research rationale validates a methodology in which 'real-world' observations frame the vocabulary and focus of netnographic research into online communities and their expressions of and influence upon tourist experience. In addition to onsite fieldwork, the thesis describes and draws upon rich sources within a contemporary media environment and community. The empirical research methodologies are dynamic and mixed, reflecting the challenges to existing research attitudes arising from the literary review and mirroring concepts of mobility and pluralism in sociological discourse. The research findings reveal complex visitor responses to the case study site and to their own role within it, speaking to issues of touristic agency. Notably, responses make clear distinctions between the site's subject matter and management and the different emotional reactions these aspects invoke. Thus, negative criticism detaches from the archetypal/historical and attaches to the institutional aspect of the site, preserving the sacred status of the former and emphasising the secularity of the latter. Transactional Analysis precepts of Parent/Adult/Child (PAC) models, applied to questionnaire and online responses, describe these distinctions as a range of crossed or complementary transactions involving specific ego states and associated emotional and attitudinal qualities. The findings compare the plural, mobile ego states across the visitor experience with the institutional ego state's singularity and immobility, reflected in its communications and environments. This disparity is expressed as a crossed transaction, frustrating participants and prohibiting ongoing dialogue and transactional development. Ultimately, this study appraises dark tourism scholarship to identify, within relevant multidisciplinary discourse, opportunities for its regeneration and re-alignment with contemporary conceptualisation of social behaviours. Utilising original research methodologies and unexpected conceptual devices, the study emphasises the relevance of online communities in understanding touristic experience and its expression. Theorising dark tourism as a continuum of psychologised transactions, this thesis suggests that further development of TA modelling of visitor experience may offer finessed and practical research models that address shortfalls within the existing literature and align its conceptualisation with contemporary social paradigms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N830 - Tourism