Affects and emotions in ghost tourism – A content analysis on tourist experiences at the LaLaurie Mansion
Kalaitsidis, Anna-Maria (2021)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The concept of ghost tourism provides an interesting approach to dark tourism destinations. It has been largely overlooked by scholars in the social sciences and research as it has been determined as superstitious beliefs. The belief in ghosts, however, has remained the same throughout the history, and even grown in the last decades. This has been due to the growing media interest to the dark and macabre. Ghosts also provide an interesting window to other forms of tourism such as heritage tourism. They are also emotionally ladened as this research shows. The research is studying affects and emotions through the affect philosophy described first by Baruch Spinoza, and later continued by Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Brian Massumi. Affects are described as unconsciously experienced intensity, that when spiked can become more of an emotion that is then experienced consciously. Because of the unconscious nature of affects, they can escape retelling and can be hard to identify. The research in question is aiming to identify them in ghost tourism experiences and see in relation to what and whom they are experienced. The empirical study was conducted as a data triangulation. The data was gathered from interviews, videoblogs, and my own autoethnographic account. The data was analysed by using thematic content analysis method. The interviews were conducted online as semi-structured interviews with photo elicitation being used as a research method. My autoethnographic text was produced around my own experience at the site when I visited the city of New Orleans in 2016. The videoblogs depicted the bloggers experiences at the mansion as well as what sort of emotions were experienced during their visits. The purpose was to study what kind of affects and emotions are produced during the tourists’ visit to the LaLaurie Mansion, and in relation to what or whom they are experienced. The study findings indicate a big role in the affectivity of the tour guide and their storytelling, as well as in atmosphere of the site. The atmosphere of the site seemed to have been created together by the tour guide and their storytelling with the tour participants. How the atmosphere is built in lighter dark tourism destinations such as the LaLaurie Mansion, provides an interesting angle to be studied further.
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