Thanatourism

Leading Editor:
Waldemar Kuligowski
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Thanatourism

Waldemar Kuligowski

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Section: Thanatourism

Abstract:

Exploiting memory as a tool of manipulation can be possible even when we are entirely aware that we are subject to such processes. After all, so many of our memories are triggered unconsciously. They can be activated by external stimuli independent of free will. Maciej Bugajewski’s analysis of the work of Paul Ricoeur confirms this notion. Ricoeur made a distinction between two types of memory: anamnesis (in Latin, reminiscentia) and mneme (Lat. memoria). The first variant indicates “the subject’s active pursuit of recollections of the past,” while the second occurs “when recollections appear unintentionally.” Bugajewski points out that Ricoeur limits his comments to questions relevant to the analysis of anamnesis (this is surely related to his perception of man as a “capable human being”). When he applies a similar method in his analysis of mneme, he ends up eliding the crucial aspect of the unconscious nature of memory recall. Bugajewski shows us that a defining feature of mneme is “the subject’s passivity and his role as beneficiary in these manifestations.” This “passivity” is the very factor underlying the state’s power to activate manipulation tactics that yield such palpable effects, even when we are fully cognizant that these strategies are at play. Unconscious recollections are also capable, to a degree, of influencing how we form judgments and make conclusions.

Section: Thanatourism

Abstract:

A popular destination for thanatourism can be found in Valle do los Caídos, or the Valley of the Fallen in Spain. It lies within the municipality of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, in the valley of Cuelgamuros in the Guadarrama mountains. It is home to the massive Monumento Nacional de Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos (The National Monument of the Holly Cross of the Valley of the Fallen) – this cross is considered to be the tallest of its kind in the world and has become the site’s signature mark.

The monument is in a fine setting to tower over its surroundings due to its location on the hilltop of Risco de Nava, facing the Benedictine monastery. The main feature of the complex is an underground basilica carved into the rock in a form of a colossal and long crypt lavishly decorated with Francoist symbols. The crypt opens out onto a vast square consistent with the majestic aesthetics of the complex as a whole. The basilica houses the graves of Francisco Franco and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, as well as the remains of 33,847 civil war casualties, according to the data available on the official website of Patrimonio Nacional. Urns of soldiers who fought for Franco and were buried as heroes sit side by side with those who fought in behalf of the republic.

Dział: Tanatoturystyka

Abstrakt:

Celem artykułu jest przedstawienie polskiego kontekstu urban exploration, praktyki polegającej na zwiedzaniu i fotograficznym dokumentowaniu miejsc opuszczonych i niedostępnych, w relacji do tanatoturystyki. Przedstawione zostały podobieństwa i różnice pomiędzy obydwoma formami turystyki, sposobami i przyczynami ich praktykowania, ich społecznymi kontekstami. Artykuł uwypukla subkulturowy i społecznościowy charakter urbexu, który realizuje się w warstwie językowej, etycznej, praktycznej oraz wizualnej – produkcji fotografii. Uwaga poświęcona została także mechanizmom powstawania i społecznego funkcjonowania miejsc opuszczonych.

Section: Thanatourism

Abstract:

Tourism of this kind refers explicitly to issues of death, and thus it is always tied to strategies for commemorating the dead. Therefore, it requires the engagement: if not of tourists themselves, then of the destinations and the institutions that maintain them. Victims of mass killings have a special status among the deceased. Among these victims, patients of psychiatric hospitals killed by the Nazis in Germany and its occupied territories deserve much attention. This article seeks to foreground the potential of these psychiatric hospitals as destinations for thanatourism. It takes then a detailed look at the tragic history of the Dziekanka Regional Hospital for the Mentally Ill, located in Gniezno, and evaluates it as a site with great potential for Gniezno and the surrounding region.