One thought on “Digital Dark Tourism: New Directions in the Heritage of Crime and Punishment?

  1. I R Lamont

    Digital dark tourism reflects some of the problems of online comment and research more generally: first who is posting the material, and for what purpose, and second what are the sources upon which the opinion or research is based. The online environment democratises in that it allows a multiplicity of opinions and ideas, but without this information about author, purpose and sources, it is difficult to evaluate the validity of these opinions and ideas. In the context of dark tourism, as this post suggests, online resources may be innovative in bringing history to life for new audiences in new ways, but it may also have the potential to be misleading, or even actively, purposefully distorting.

    The engagement of academics in the online environment is an important question for researchers more generally. At the moment the development of online resources, even the maintenance of a blog, is not necessarily incentivised or rewarded, so what is the motivation for academics to engage in this sort of activity? What does it add to our own research? And what can we add to the understanding and engagement of others with history, or any other discipline? The strategy of creating ‘thoughtful and appropriate visual sites’ may present a significant challenge for researchers, (perhaps more used to the ‘dry and didactic’) but also may have potential for sparking new ideas and avenues for future research through engagement with new audiences. However, the purpose and value of the researcher in engaging online has to be clearly identified, otherwise the risk is merely adding further to sites of digital dark tourism, without actually encouraging further understanding of the events or places described.

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