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‘Dark Tourism’ and the ‘Kitschification’ of 9/11

Potts, Tracey


Tracey Potts


This paper aims to interrogate the framing of New York’s Ground Zero as a ‘dark tourist’ destination, with particular reference to the entanglement of notions of kitsch in academic discussions of the events of September 11th 2001. What makes Ground Zero contentious, even scandalous, for many scholars is the presence of a conspicuous commodity culture around the site in the form of tourist souvenirs, leading to accusations of kitschification of memory and the constitution of visitors as ‘tourists of history’. Drawing upon theoretical ideas of Jacques Ranciere, Bruno Latour and W. J. T. Mitchell around image politics, the alignment of kitsch with the figure of the tourist will be questioned, along with the conviction that the so-called ‘teddy-bearification’ of 9/11 threatens the formation of dangerous political subjectivities. In attempting to rid the debates of their default settings, and reliance on essentialist notions of kitsch, it is hoped that that the way will be cleared for the sociological, ethnographic and empirical work necessary to considering the cultural and political significance of the Ground Zero souvenir economy.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2012
Journal Tourist Studies
Print ISSN 1468-7976
Electronic ISSN 1741-3206
Publisher SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 3
Institution Citation Potts, T. (2012). ‘Dark Tourism’ and the ‘Kitschification’ of 9/11. Tourist Studies, 12(3), doi:10.1177/1468797612461083
Keywords Dark Tourism, Kitsch, Kitschification, 9/11, Teddy-Bearification, Spectacle, Iconoclasm, Iconoclash, Division of the Sensible
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Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf


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