The terms “thanatourism” and “dark tourism” relate to visiting places of human tragedy, which are increasingly developed as tourist destinations. There is a need to trouble thanatouristic assumptions through sharing and discussing lived experiences. These challenge the simplistic mechanistic marketing and conventional research practices of thanatourism. This dialogic autoethnographic study responds to this need, addressing thanatourism from the subjective and emotional perspectives of “insider” scholar-participant-consumers. Two interactive dialogic stories are presented by the lead and second authors, with the fourth providing a theoretically informed response. In the final section, the third author, an experienced autoethnographer and outsider to the thanatouristic topic and context, interrogates the lead author on concepts and issues emerging in the autoethnographic dialogue. Through engaging with this study, the reader is offered a multilayered, polysemic, emotionally provocative account of the ethical interface between thanatourism, consumer behaviour and marketing practices, and an exemplar model for future autoethnographic work.


thanatourism, marketing, consumer, dialogic autoethnography, narrative

Author Bio(s)

Elizabeth Lloyd-Parkes (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1596-2248) is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of South Wales and has extensive experience in lecturing at under- and post-graduate levels within the field of marketing. Both her master’s qualification and Ph.D. are in marketing-related subjects, and her research experience is both academic and practitioner-based, again within the marketing field. Prior to taking on an academic role, Elizabeth worked for several blue-chip companies in marketing roles. Her current research interests focus on autoethnography and the contribution that personal storytelling can make to business, management, and other disciplines. Elizabeth is a member of the George Ewart Evans Storytelling Centre and supervises and examines Ph.D.s within the marketing field and also those focusing on autoethnography and storytelling as a methodology. She actively participates in consultancy regarding the marketing of third sector/not for profit organisations.

Jonathan H. Deacon (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5180-5904) is Professor of Marketing at the University of South Wales where he leads research with a focus on “Contextual Marketing” especially the use of story in business. Jonathan is an acknowledged global “thought leader” at the interface between Marketing, Creative Thinking, and Management. He is global vice chair and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Jonathan is also Vice Chair and UK board member of the European Marketing Confederation and is an appointed member of the Royal Anniversary Trust's Readers Panel for the Queen's Anniversary Awards. He is past editor of the Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship (Emerald), a board member of the Global Research Symposium on Marketing and Entrepreneurship and an experienced journal reviewer and external examiner. However, Jonathan’s career prior to academia was within business – he launched and grew several successful businesses and has a working knowledge of high growth businesses and new venture starts. Jonathan retains an interest in business and sits on the boards of several “not for loss” companies.

Alec Grant (https://orcid.org/000-0002-8227-5184) is a well-established and published autoethnographic writer, teacher, mentor, and methodological innovator, with an international reputation. Now an independent scholar, he held the title of Reader in Narrative Mental Health at the University of Brighton prior to his retirement in 2017. He received the International Conference of Autoethnography (ICAE7) Lifetime Contribution for Services to Autoethnography award in July 2020 and is the co-editor of two major textbooks: Contemporary British Autoethnography (2013, Sense Publishers) and International Perspectives on Autoethnographic Research and Practice (2018, Routledge). His single- and joint-authored autoethnographic work has also appeared in numerous journal articles and book chapters. He has worked with Dr Lloyd-Parkes in the capacity of informal autoethnographic mentor for two years.

Dr. Simon Thomas (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8562-4116) is a Senior Lecturer at the University of South Wales Business School. Prior to commencing a career in academia Dr. Thomas worked in visitor services support for Cadw, the Welsh Government body responsible for the historic environment in Wales. Research interests include pilgrimage meaning, memorials as pilgrimage, and religious tourism. Current research projects focus on the meaning of pilgrimage at the shrine of Lourdes in South West France, roadside memorials as pilgrimage shrines, miracles as a motivator for touristic activity, conflict at pilgrimage shrines, spiritual consumerism, and dark tourism. Recent consultancy projects include a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) supervision at the “Cardiff Story Museum” rated as excellent by the KTP board, a Colegau Cymru skills analysis project in the retail, tourism, and hospitality sector, and two Strategic Insight Projects. Dr. Thomas is an experienced journal reviewer and external examiner who has significant experience in quality and franchise arrangements.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Elizabeth Lloyd-Parkes, Faculty of Creative Industries, University of South Wales, Cardiff, UK CF24 2FN; Email: elizabeth.lloyd-parkes@southwales.ac.uk

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.







To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.