Gazing at Ground Zero: Tourism, Voyeurism and Spectacle

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    This essay uses the temporary viewing platform at the site of the former World Trade Center to explore our fascination with violence, conflict and disaster. It illustrates how discourses of voyeurism and authenticity promote a desire for sites of horror, and examines how that desire both disrupts and reinforces our prevailing interpretations of global politics. The viewing platform at Ground Zero was initially constructed to manage the thousands of people who traveled to New York in response to the shocking media images of 11 September. However, their desire to escape mediation and touch "the real" had the opposite effect - it transformed Ground Zero into a tourist attraction. Using Ground Zero as a starting point, this essay theorizes discourses of voyeurism and authenticity through the work of Baudrillard, Debord and Bauman in an effort to position the tourist as a significant political subject.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-21
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal for Cultural Research
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004

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