Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

12-2015

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Anthropology

Degree Program

Anthropology, MA

Committee Chair

Parkhurst, Shawn

Committee Member

Peteet, Julie

Committee Member

Walker, Margath

Author's Keywords

conflict tourism; tourism; conflict; economy

Abstract

This thesis examines tourism as a politically charged facet of the economic process in Northern Ireland. While violence has abated in the region, sectarian conflict continues to affect Northern Irish society. Tourism has helped develop the economy by opening the market to visitors through the marketing of the region as unique and different. As conflict in the region is ongoing, the rise of tourism as a viable economic strategy raises the question: how does the Northern Irish tourist industry reconcile the past and ongoing conflict in order to present the region as a desirable tourist destination? The answer lies in the creation and appropriation of conflict sites. Conflict sites involve heritage. By focusing on these types of tourist attractions, attention is brought to the hidden – and continual – process of historical (re)formulation. The analytical categories of local-folk and official are instrumental in examining this process. They capture differing perspectives. The local-folk and official perspectives are not completely distinct. Instead they are intertwined and influence one another. They also vary across time and space. The concept of conflict tourism helps generate and address specific questions about such variation. How did the tourism industry develop within the socio-economic and political spheres? How has it affected these spheres? Most specifically, why and how have sites connected with the events of the Troubles been appropriated and reimagined as tourist spaces? Answering such questions requires attention to the socio-political framework of the Northern Irish economy, the creation and marketing of the tourism industry, the impact conflict has upon tourist activities, and the impact tourism has upon conflict.

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