Dark diaspora tourism: experiences and meanings in liminal spaces

Abstract

Few tourism sites possess the combined attributes of dark tourism and diaspora tourism, and journeys to these liminal spaces can unearth complex and nuanced emotions. While previous studies have added knowledge to the experiences of diaspora tourists, little is known about the liminal experiences at dark diaspora tourism sites. While most studies attempt to explore the experiences of tourists to destinations, there is neoteric interest in understanding the hermeneutics of these experiences by offering insights into the contextual interpretation of events. To investigate these, we integrate liminality and stimulus organism theories within a framework of interpretive phenomenology methodology. Forty interviews were conducted with dark diaspora tourists. The study revealed minor and major themes including enlightenment, visceral conflicts, identity dilemmas, and renegotiation of diasporic experiences. Ultimately, it is only by probing the interpretations of dark diaspora experiences from visitors’ own narratives that deep concealed meanings to liminal experiences can be uncovered. The research indicates that experiences at dark diaspora sites vary and result in diverse effects on individuals’ experiences and subsequent interpretations.

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