This anthropological study examines the relationship between leisure and death, specifically how leisure practices are used to meditate upon—and mediate—life. Considering travelers who seek enjoyment but encounter death and dying, tourists who accidentally face their own mortality while vacationing, those who intentionally seek out pleasure activities that pertain to mortality and risk, and those who use everyday leisure practices like social media or dogwalking to cope with death, Leisure and Death delves into one of the most provocative subsets of contemporary cultural anthropology.
These nuanced and well-developed ethnographic case studies deal with different and distinct examples of the intertwining of leisure and death. They challenge established conceptions of leisure and rethink the associations attached to the prospect of death. Chapters testify to encounters with death on a personal and scholarly level, exploring, for example, the Cliffs of Moher as not only one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland but one of the most well-known suicide destinations as well, and the estimated 30 million active posthumous Facebook profiles being repurposed through proxy users and transformed by continued engagement with the living. From the respectful to the fascinated, from the macabre to the morbid, contributors consider how people deliberately, or unexpectedly, negotiate the borderlands of the living.
An engaging, timely book that explores how spaces of death can be transformed into spaces of leisure, Leisure and Death makes a significant contribution to the burgeoning interdisciplinary literature on leisure studies and dark tourism. This book will appeal to students, scholars, and laypeople interested in tourism studies, death studies, cultural studies, heritage studies, anthropology, sociology, and marketing.
Contributors: Kathleen M. Adams, Michael Arnold, Jane Desmond, Keith Egan, Maribeth Erb, James Fernandez, Martin Gibbs, Rachel Horner-Brackett, Shingo Iitaka, Tamara Kohn, Patrick Laviolette, Ruth McManus, James Meese, Bjorn Nansen, Stravoula Pipyrou, Hannah Rumble, Cyril Schafer