Dark Tourism and Social Mobilization: Transforming Travelers After Visiting a Holocaust Museum

Joelle Soulard, William Stewart, Marcy Larson, Eve Samson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A critical gap in the dark tourism literature concerns the possibility of social mobilization outcomes after taking part in dark tourism experiences. While a crucial driver behind the creation of museums focusing on war and genocide is to prevent their reoccurrence by socially mobilizing travelers, few studies look at whether travelers can become socially mobilized and take actions for human rights. We apply the Framing Theory of Social Action to investigate whether travelers employ framings in their discourse to reveal social mobilization outcomes after visiting exhibits at a Holocaust Museum. Travelers engage in photo-elicitation and in-depth interviews about their post-experience of visiting exhibits that are focusing on the Holocaust, women’s rights, and apartheid at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center (IHMEC). Travelers suggest they engage in the main form of social mobilization outcomes: feeling empowered, pursuing remembrance and education, and identifying societal issues that warrant mobilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)820-840
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number4
Early online dateJul 13 2022
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • activism
  • dark tourism experiences
  • social mobilization
  • theory of collective action frame
  • transformative experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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