Dark Shades of travel: Death Tourism with its Legal and Social Implications

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
DeMond MILLER , Sociology and Anthropology, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ
Christopher GONZALEZ , Rowan University
The growing interest of dark tourism, namely death tourism, where the confrontation with grief and mortality is met with the expressed purpose of orchestrating travel that culminates in assistance to end one's life is becoming more a central focus on the debates in the right to life arguments.  This paper describes the emerging phenomenon of death tourism, to present briefly the social and legal aspects of assisted suicide in conjunction within the tourism industry.  By employing a variety of primary and secondary resources, from death tourism industry documents, legal statutes, and news reports, this study explores the propositions of this article. Whereas much of the contemporary research in dark tourism focuses on sights, experiences, and actual memorialization, death tourism tends to comprise a holistic view of the emerging phenomenon by viewing supply and demand management (and promotion), political interpretation and control. The final component of the paper views societal interpretations of death tourism and its potential for market expansion. There have been several social movements and legislative attempts to curtail the spread of assisted suicide and death tourism; however, the demand for the services has grown to the point where jurisdictions are considering measures to allow this practice. Such an expansion of legalized assisted suicide will allow those seeking the right to die more options for a death within a diversified tourism industry and how the trend of death tourism is potentially spreading to other countries beyond Europe.