Re-imagining the National Past: Negotiating the Roles of Science, Religion, and History in Contemporary British Ghost Tourism



Ghosts are a part of contemporary Great Britain’s popular culture, cultural heritage, and tourism industry. While ghosts do not figure in official tourism literature of Britain, ghosts are prominent in the tourist sectors of cities such as York and Edinburgh. Haunted ghost walks, a form of tourism in which tourists purchase guided walking tours of a city that recount the nation’s and city’s past through its ghosts, may seem like a benign and even frivolous mode of tourism. However, this form of tourism reveals a significant contestation of British cultural heritage in terms of attitudes toward science and religion, complicated by the tumultuous times or events that produce these ghosts constituting a feature of British cultural heritage. By examining past religious conflicts as well as by examining the significance and power of (ghost hunting) science, these tours challenge dominant representations of British cultural heritage by highlighting the explicitly grotesque, brutal, and disruptive.


Tour Guide Religious Plurality British Nation Henry VIII Religious Conflict 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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