Accepted paper:

Dying in a strange land: tourists, terrorists and promises to the dead


Maribeth Erb (National University of Singapore)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the disjuncture between tourism and the possibility of death while journeying in a distant land. What is the meaning of dying in a strange land? How do people value the death of a stranger?

Paper long abstract:

Dying in a strange land has always been a possibility when travellers set out for long journeys, never certain that they will return. Interest in travelling to dangerous places has grown in recent decades, as witnessed by the travel guides and websites dedicated to an extreme breed of adventurous tourist, and therefore the contemplation of death far away from home is something actively cultivated by some modern travellers. At the same time the active search for tourist victims to threaten death is a powerful tool used by certain parties as a political device. What is the "value" of the tourist death to those who may perpetrate it or have to deal with it? What is the meaning of the death of a stranger if a tourist dies unbidden in a search for meaning to his life? In this paper I will explore some of these questions, using some examples of the way people deal with the death of a stranger from research in a tourist town in eastern Indonesia.

panel LD14
Disjunctions of deathscapes: ways of suffering, dying, and death