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What Are The Motivations Of Dark Tourists Tourism

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On the 27th of April 2008, Josef Fritzl was arrested in Amstetten, a little town in Austria. It has shown that Fritzl sexually abused his girl, Elisabeth, since she was eleven old ages old. When she was 18 old ages old he locked her up in the cellar underneath his house. Fritzl forced his girl Elisabeth to compose a missive to her female parent where she stated that she had run off from place and joined a religious order. The sexual maltreatment led to the birth of seven kids.

Three of these kids were raised by Elisabeth in the cellar and the other three were raised by Fritzl and his married woman. One of the kids died a few yearss after it was born. Furthermore, Fritzl convinced his married woman that the three kids they raised were exposed by Elisabeth. When one of the kids that lived in the cellar, the at that clip nineteen-year-old Kersten, got sick Elisabeth convinced her male parent that she needed to be hospitalized.

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Because Kersten was non registered anyplace, one of the physicians informed the governments. After this, Elisabeth saw a plan on the telecasting in her cellar that made a call up for the female parent of Kersten. Then she convinced her male parent to convey her to the infirmary, which led to the hearings of Fritzl and Elisabeth and the confessions of the inhuman treatments that took topographic point. After 24 old ages Elisabeth was freed from the cellar and reunited with all her kids ( Wikipedia, 2010 ) .

This matter has received enormous attending in the media and hence the instance is known all over the universe. The intimacy encompasses a painful and black episode on a national and local footing. Furthermore, the house of Fritzl has become a touristic attractive force. Amstetten is covering with an increasing sum of tourers that come to see the house. When tourers visit the house, they frequently take exposures of the house and of themselves in forepart of it. The articles on the cyberspace show that the local governments find this shocking ( HLN, 2010 ) . The phenomenon that people visit topographic points that are associated with decease, agony and force can be described as dark touristry. Thanatourism is a similar construct and besides involves the visiting of locations associated with decease and agony, but an accent is placed upon symbolically sing a painful decease. Another related construct is ‘black musca volitanss ‘ , which can be described as commercial graveyards of celebrated people or locations where decease and enduring took topographic point. The house of Fritzl belongs to such topographic points and sing this location fits the description of dark touristry and thanatourism. The house of Fritzl, where the maltreatment and inhuman treatments took topographic point, can be seen as a symbolic contemplation of this intimacy and its tragic events. Furthermore, the house serves as a touchable object that invokes the memory of the Fritzl-affaire ( Yull, 2003: 10-13 ; Logan en Reeves, 2009: 1-3 ; Rojek, 1993: 136 ) . The phenomenon that people visit the house of Fritzl inspired me to explicate the undermentioned research inquiry: “ What are the motives of dark tourers? The instance of the house of J. Fritzl in Amstetten. ” It is interesting to happen out why tourers visit the house, if the media attending has played a function in the determination of people to see the house and if certain features, such as age and gender, affect the motive of these visitants. The instance of Fritzl offers a fascinating and recent instance to travel more in-depth into the motives of dark tourers.

Scientific and Social Relevance

The scientific relevancy of this research inquiry lies in the fact that the topic of dark touristry is comparatively new within the academic field. Several articles have been published on this subject, but as Stone ( 2006 ) argues: ‘despite this increasing attending the dark touristry literature remains both eclectic and theoretical fragile ‘ ( Stone, 2006: 145 ) . Some research workers have already focused on visitant motives of dark tourer sites. For illustration, Yull ( 2003 ) investigated why people visit the Holocaust Museum in Houston. However, harmonizing to Stone ( 2006 ) and Sharpley ( 2009 ) research foremost and first has focused on depicting the different dark tourer sites, instead than on the ingestion and experiences of visitants. This research will lend to the apprehension of visitant engagement in dark touristry by taking the visitants of the house of Fritzl as the focal point of this research. Furthermore, the bing research has non focused on the motives of visitants to dark tourer sites, comparable to the house of Fritzl and hence this research will add to and make full the spread in the existing literature. The societal relevancy of this research is harder to find. However, happening out what the motives of visitants are, might supply utile and relevant information for straight involved parties, other than the scientific community. For illustration, this information could offer the local community of Amstetten and ( in ) direct victims of this instance a better apprehension of what is traveling on and with what grounds people visit this site of horror. For illustration visitants might be motivated to see this topographic point to pay regard to the victims or retrieve the inhuman treatments that took topographic point, alternatively of amusement intents. Furthermore, the consequences of this research could even be relevant to society as a whole, since dark sites similar to the house of Fritzl seem to progressively start up and attract visitants world-wide. This research seeks to supply penetrations into why people are motivated to see these morbid locations.

Theoretical Concepts and Hypothesized Relations

As mentioned antecedently, several theoretical constructs are related to the phenomenon where people visit topographic points associated with hurting, decease and agony. Academic attending to this phenomenon increased in the 20th century and several theoretical constructs were introduced. These constructs are black musca volitanss ( Rojek, 1993 ) , dark touristry ( Lennon and Foley, 1996: in Yull, 2003 ) and thanatourism ( Seaton, 1996: in Sharpley, 2009 ) . These ‘dark constructs ‘ will be briefly discussed in a more or less chronicle order, based on debut in the literature. Another construct of importance for this research is visitor motives ( Sharpley, 2009: 12-15 ) .

Dark Concepts

Black Spots

Rojek ( 1993 ) coined the term black musca volitanss and argues that these locations involve commercial graveyards of celebrated people or sites where decease and enduring took topographic point. In his research, Rojek ( 1993 ) besides mentions that people progressively visit these dark sites and that entrepreneurs novice Tourss around these black musca volitanss. Examples of black musca volitanss are the concentration cantonment Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim-Brzezinka, Ground Zero in New York and the location where Princess Diana got killed in a auto clang ( Rojek, 1993: 136-145 ) .

Dark Tourism and Thanatourism

Visiting topographic points associated with decease, hurting and agony is going progressively popular. However, Sharpley ( 2009 ) argues that this is non a new phenomenon. In the Roman Empire, it was a common signifier of amusement to go to a gladiators lucifer. Another illustration are the public executings in the Middle Ages. Traveling to topographic points where decease and agony are cardinal elements can be defined as dark touristry. Furthermore, it involves devouring existent or fake topographic points of decease and horror. Visiting these topographic points where existent inhuman treatments took topographic point by relations or friends of the victims can non be seen as a signifier of dark touristry. Thanatourism is a construct which strongly relates to dark touristry and was introduced in the literature in the same twelvemonth as dark touristry. Thanatourism entails the visiting of locations associated with decease and agony, where visitants want to symbolically see a painful decease. This description points more to the motives of visitants of dark sites. However, the term dark touristry is normally used in the academic field and no differentiation is made between the constructs dark touristry and thanatourism. Therefore, I will utilize the term dark touristry in this research and do no difference between dark touristry and thanatourism ( Lennon en Foley, 2000: 3-5 ; Yull, 2003: 10, 11 ; Sharpley, 2009: 3-19 ) . Dark touristry involves the existent visiting of black musca volitanss. There are different black musca volitanss which are visited day-to-day by tourers and hence belong to sites of dark touristry. Furthermore, several Tourss are initiated around dark sites. Commercial motivations, in footings of entryway fees, are frequently involved. Examples are the ‘Jack the Ripper circuit ‘ in London or the circuit in Charleroi which shows you, among other dark sites, the house of the celebrated kidnaper and kid molester Marc Dutroux. Visiting morbid museums, old prisons or conflict field autumn besides under the class dark touristry. As discussed antecedently, the house of Fritzl fits the description of a black musca volitanss and progressively attracts visitants. This research seeks to understand the motives of these visitants ( Stone, 2006: 145, 146, 152 ; HLN, 2010 ) .

Visitor Motivations

For this research it is necessary to include visitor motives as a theoretical construct. Motivations of persons to see regular tourer topographic points include acquiring acquainted with other civilizations and increase 1s knowledge about these locations. Furthermore, motives frequently involve amusement intents, such as holding merriment or seeking escapade. Relaxation, revival, being active and acquire near to nature are besides common inducements to see a certain location ( Kozak, 2002: 225 ) . However, these motives of regular touristic locations might differ from motives of tourers that visit black musca volitanss. Unfortunately, few literature is available that focal point on visitant motives of dark tourers. The literature that is accessible, uses similar research inquiries to the 1 is used in this research. Yull ( 2003 ) studied the motives of dark tourers and focused more specifically on the motives of visitants of the Holocaust Museum in Houston. Niemela ( 2010 ) focused on visitant motives of the House of Terror museum in Budapest. This museum is built to retrieve the anguished and killed people during World War II. In add-on, Poria, Reichel and Biran ( 2006 ) chose to look into the motives of the visitants of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Although the dark tourer locations used in these researches are museums associated with decease and agony and hence differ from the dark site that is used in this research, similar motives may be found. If different motives are found, it could be argued that this difference is dependent on the specific dark tourer site. Harmonizing to Yull ( 2003 ) , motives of dark tourer could affect amusement intents, such as supplying a bang, a fresh experience or escapade. Furthermore, retrieving the victims and the inhuman treatments that took topographic point or wonder can besides be motives of tourer that visit the house of Fritzl. Although instruction might be more suited as a motive to see a museum associated with decease and agony, persons can besides see the house of Fritzl to larn something. For illustration, visitants might desire to enrich their cognition about the Fritzl-affaire. In add-on, Niemela ( 2010 ) argues that emotional engagement might besides play a function in the motives of dark tourers. Visitors might place or hold a personal connexion with the inhuman treatments that took topographic point. Furthermore, Poria, Reichel and Biran ( 2006 ) include two more motives ; tourers might see a dark site, because it is celebrated or because they feel that the site is historically of import ( Yull, 2003: 146-159, 191-199 ; Niemela , 2010: 37 ; Poria, Reichel and Biran, 2006: 322 ) . The media play an of import function within the field of dark touristry. The media can describe tragic events that take topographic point all over the universe. The attending that the media wage to tragic and atrocious events serve as a stimulation for flows of touristry. Furthermore, media has the capacity to ‘bring dark touristry sites to public consciousness ‘ ( Yull, 2003: 125 ) . Additionally, Lennon and Foley ( 2000 ) argue that the attending of the media to specific dark sites, might actuate persons to see the location in order to see the world behind the media representations. Since, the Fritzl-affaire received enormous attending in the media, it will be probably that this attending has an influence on the motive of visitants ( Stone, 2009: 57 ; Seaton, 2009: 90 ; 95, 106 ; Lennon and Foley, 2000: 152 ) .

Operationalization of Theoretical Concepts

In this subdivision, the operationalization of the theoretical constructs will be discussed. To reply the inquiry “ What are the motives of dark tourers? The instance of the house of J. Fritzl in Amstetten ” , I will carry on qualitative semi-structured interviews[ 1 ]with visitants of the house of Fritzl in Amstetten. This implies that a subject list will be made, dwelling of subjects that will be addressed in the interview. However, the order in which the subjects will be discussed is non fixed and if necessary, the interviewer will examine for more information and adapt to new subject ‘s that are brought up by the interviewees. Furthermore, the interviewer can accommodate to the degree of comprehension of the respondents. The inquiries will be unfastened, which means that no reply classs will be made ( ‘t Hart, Boeije and Hox, 2007: 274, 275 ; Gilbert, 2001: 123, 124 ) . Several subjects that will be addressed in the interview are outlined. First of wholly, it is of import to include demographic factors of the visitants, such as age, the state the interviewee lives in and the highest obtained degree of instruction ( primary school or less, secondary school, intermediate vocational preparation, higher vocational preparation, college or station alumnus ) . Furthermore, the gender of the respondent will be noted during the interview. These demographic factors are included, because they are of import background variables and might impact the motives people have to see the house of Fritzl.

Other subjects that will be included will concentrate upon the motives of visitants of the house of Fritzl in Amstetten. It will be asked what attracted the visitants to see Amstetten and what their primary ground is for sing this town. I will seek to research whether visitants come specifically for the house or if they have other motivations or more than one ground to see this town. Then, I will concentrate on the subject of why people visit the house of Fritzl. Although, similar replies to the research on dark tourer motives described above possibly found, such as amusement, wonder, recollection of the victims and inhuman treatments that took topographic point, emotional engagement, historical importance of the site or its celebrity, unexpected replies besides need to be taken into history. Furthermore, it is indispensable to travel in-depth into the replies and inquire for farther amplification if necessary. Additionally, it needs to be explored whether visitants have multiple motives to see the house of Fritzl. Seeking to understand motives of visitants of the house of Fritzl, demands for accommodating to possible unexpected replies and the accomplishments to respond to this state of affairs adequately. Furthermore, the function of the media will be addressed. Central subjects will be, whether visitants are familiar with and interested in the Fritzl-affaire, if they have followed the instance in the intelligence, docudramas or on the cyberspace. This will seek to research whether media attending to the Fritzl-affaire affects the tourers in their motive to see the house. Following, I will concentrate upon if the visitants have antecedently visited other dark locations, where inhuman treatments have taken topographic point. It will be interesting to happen out if there is a relationship between sing the house of Fritzl and other dark locations and if we are covering with tourers that have an involvement in sing dark sites in general.

Plan for Data Collection

For this research, the visitants of the house of Fritzl in Amstetten are the objects of survey. Hence, it is necessary to come into contact with these visitants. For this research I choose to utilize qualitative semi-standardized interviews to reply the research inquiry. Qualitative methods are used when a certain research subject is comparatively new and undiscovered. Furthermore, qualitative methods offer the possibility to travel more in-depth into specific facets of a certain phenomenon. Baarda, de Goede and van der Meer-Middelburg ( 1996 ) argue that qualitative interviews are a suited method when thoughts, motives, sentiments and experiences need to be investigated. Since this research seeks to research the motives of visitants of the house of Fritzl in Amstetten, it fits this description ( ‘t Hart et Al. 2007: 253 ; Baarda et Al. 1996: 18-20 ) . I choose to utilize semi-structured, one-to-one interviews. This implies that subjects will be formulated and addressed in the interview. Besides demographic inquiries, specific inquiries, reply classs or the order of the inquiries will non be fixed in progress. This gives the interviewer the chance to examine for more information if necessary or reflexively react to new subject ‘s that might be brought up. This automatic attack is indispensable, since motives of dark tourers is comparatively undiscovered, particularly in respect to locations comparable to the house of Fritzl. This may ensue in unexpected replies to be brought up. When standardised methods are used, this will non be possible. One-to-one interviews are used, because the interviewees will non be influenced by the sentiments of others and may give them the feeling to talk more openly about their motive ( s ) . Furthermore, confidentiality and namelessness of the informations will be guaranteed ( Baarda et al. , 1996: 18-24, 26-28 ; ‘t Hart et Al. 2007: 254, 261, 262, 267 ; Gilbert, 2001: 123-129 ) . To interview the research participants of this research it is necessary to travel to Amstetten, which is approximately a nine hr thrust from Rotterdam. I will pass three yearss around the house of Fritzl and I will near the visitants that come by. I will inquire them if they are willing to take part in this research. This research requires purposive sampling, because I assume that merely a little group of visitants of the house of Fritzl is accessible in these three yearss and this group will be probably to stand for the visitants as a whole. Furthermore, ‘using a chance sample is frequently unrealistic for small-scale or qualitative research ‘ ( Gilbert, 2001: 62 ) . The continuance of the interview will be about 20 proceedingss and the sum of interviewees will depend on the willingness to take part. The purpose will be to carry on 10 to twenty interviews. Furthermore, the interviews will be recorded. Gilbert ( 2001 ) argues that entering is recommendable, particularly when carry oning non-standardized or semi-structured interviews. This, because this type of transporting out interviews requires an active engagement of the interviewer within the conversation. By entering the interview, the information wo n’t be lost and in contrast to doing notes it wo n’t blockade or decelerate down the duologue. It besides signals that the responses of the respondents are taking earnestly. Of class, the usage of recording will be explained to the interviewees and their blessing will be asked. Directly after the interview, notes will be made about the scene, the interview and the interviewee which can be used to remember the context of the peculiar interview ( ‘t Hart et Al. 2007: 268-270 ; Gilbert, 2001: 61-63, 135-137 ) .

Plan for Data Analysis

When the information is collected, the analysis of the informations will get down. First of wholly, the recorded interviews will be direct transcribed. I choose to compose down everything that is said, because so informations wo n’t acquire lost that might be of significance when the research progresses. Although, transcribing everything is time-consuming and labour-intensive, the low measure of interviews makes it possible to make so. Furthermore, transcribing the information allows you to acquire familiar with the informations and it helps easing ideas and thoughts about possible connexions and underlying subjects. Before analysing, the transcripts will be checked by listening to the recordings one time more and by carefully reading the written text. The demographic features of the respondents will be shown on the first page of the transcripts. After this, I will offer the transcript to the respondents, so that truth can be checked and remarks can be made. This improves dependability and cogency of the replies ( Gilbert, 2001: 134-137 ) . The transcripts will be read repeatedly with the purpose to place implicit in subjects and connexions. By comparing and contrasting fragments within interviews and between interviews, fragments with an implicit in connexion will be categorized and labeled. Furthermore, it will demo whether the earlier described motives are found in the transcripts, or if new subjects will be discovered. Similarities and unsimilarities between different respondents may emerge and might associate to their demographic features. Finally, the codified subjects will be linked and compared to pull a full image of the motives of visitants of the house of Fritzl in Amstetten and reply the research inquiry ( Gilbert, 2001: 137, 138 ; ‘t Hart et Al. 2007: 176, 277 ) .


Gilbert ( 2008 ) describes six belongingss that a research inquiry should hold. The research inquiry should be interesting, relevant, concise, answerable, executable and ethical. For this research it is necessary to turn to two of these belongingss more in-depth, which are the feasibleness of this research and its ethical dimensions. The research inquiry, “ What are the motives of dark tourers? The instance of the house of J. Fritzl in Amstetten ” , is executable to the extent that it can be answered within a comparatively short period of clip and with comparatively low costs. Furthermore, the research participants are accessible. However, the hunt for visitants of the house of Fritzl might demo troubles. For this research I will pass three yearss around the house of Fritzl and near the tourers that will see the house. However, it is possible that on these peculiar yearss there will be no visitants at all. Consequently, happening research participants might be time-consuming and unpleasant ( Gilbert, 2008: 48 ) . Harmonizing to Gilbert ( 2008 ) , it is of importance to take into history the ethical dimensions of a research inquiry. While no specific blessing is needed from establishments to carry on this research, this research involves a certain sensitiveness. The ground for this, is that this survey focuses upon an matter where people suffered and were mistreated. Therefore, this matter is sensitive to victims or relations of these victims. Furthermore, this instance might be sensitive to the adjacent occupants or the whole community of Amstetten. Spending three yearss in forepart of the house of Fritzl to garner the research participants might be violative to the occupants. For illustration, they might be upset or experience that their privateness is violated. Consequently, it is necessary to work with discretion. Eventual publication of this research besides involves ethical deductions. Publication might do injury to the different parties involved ( Gilbert, 2008: 48, 49 ; Gilbert, 2001: 49-53 ) . A last brief remark I would wish to do is about the failings of


Baarda, D.B. , de Goede, M.P.M. & A ; van der Meer-Middelburg, A.G.E. 1996. Basisboek Open Interviewen. Groningen: Stenfert Kroese.

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‘t Hart, H. , Boeije, H. & A ; Hox, J. 2007. Onderzoeksmethoden. Amsterdam: Boom onderwijs.

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Poria, Y. , Reichel, A. & A ; Biran, A. 2006. Heritage Site Percepts and Motivations to Visit. Journal of Travel Research 44, 318-326.

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HLN, 2010

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Wikipedia, 2010

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