The stalker's way. Between reality and virtuality of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
Magdalena Banaszkiewicz (Jagiellonian University)
Paper short abstract:
The project investigates the role played by the stalkers (illegal visitors) in presenting dissonant heritage of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Despite the fact, that they are in general against mass tourism, they contribute greatly to its development by influencing on tourism imaginaries.
Paper long abstract:
The aim of the project is to investigate the role played by the stalkers in presenting dissonant heritage of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Along with a significant increase in the number of visitors to the site in recent years, the place is being gradually touristified, which raises many question and concerns. Additionally to the legal, "mainstream" tours, organized by the local companies with the suppoert of the Zone's management, there is a growin number of those who enter the site illegally. This illegal visitors, labelling themselves as "stalkers" in majority represents the antitourism stance. The significant impact on the popularity of their activity have social media (open/closed interest groups) and personal websites (such as blogs). Despite the fact, that they are in general against mass tourism, they contribute greatly to its development by influencing on tourism imaginaries. The study and tries to characterize main features of this engagement and the ways in which they kindle the imagination. Simultaneously, the paper examines how anthropology of tourism combines traditional for the discipline methods (such as in-depth interviews and observation) with netnography.