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Dark tourism: D-dag - døden som underholdning

By Maria Nygaard Madsen, Sine Maria Vinther, Kristina Loncar and Katja Schjeldrup Klepsch

Abstract

This paper examines how dark tourism is expressed in the tourism related to D-day in Normandy. Furthermore it assesses whether the tourism reflects a certain collective narrative, which can be traced back to the allied countries’ participation in the invasion of France during the Second World War. Based on anthropological fieldwork in Normandy, an analysis of five following cases; the American, British and German cemetery, Pointe du Hoc and the city Sainte-Mère-Église, the paper shows that dark tourism indeed is visible at all attractions that are representing D-day in Normandy. Through several interviews with American, German and Irish tourists, British, French and Canadian guides, and last but not least our own observations at the sites. The empirical results suggest a theoretical division of the dark tourism tourist in three separate tendencies; 1) plain dark tourism tourists, 2) tourists with a primary historical interest and 3) tourists who visit the sites in order to remember and pay respect for the deeds of the allied soldiers. The paper then discusses the grey areas that are present associated with the three tendencies and what conflicts these may imply when trying to categorize the tourists, because in most cases the tendencies intertwine. Furthermore the paper discusses how the collective narratives, particularly how the American collective narrative affects the tourist’s motives for visiting historical sites and attractions, but also how it affects the whole D-day tourism industry in Normandy. Finally the paper concludes that despite the presence of several different narratives, the American collective narrative is the dominant story about the events that occurred on D-day in the Second World War, and that this narrative affects the tourists’ impressions and interpretations of the sites and attractions

Topics: Dark tourism, D-dag, Kollektiv narrativ, Anden verdenskrig, Normandiet, turisme
Year: 2015
OAI identifier: oai:rudar.ruc.dk:1800/23436

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