Emotions and critical thinking at a dark heritage site: investigating visitors’ reactions to a First World War museum in Slovenia

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Abstract

This paper explores the connection between memory study theories (antagonistic, cosmopolitan, and agonistic) and emotions in a dark heritage site. It does so by investigating Italian and Slovene visitors’ emotional reactions to the permanent exhibition of the Kobarid Museum. The museum is located in a dark heritage site in Slovenia that was the epicenter of a series of bloody conflicts during the First World War. Relying on a cosmopolitan narrative, the museum promotes a clear antiwar message, aiming to elicit emotional responses such as empathy and compassion for the victims to connect with visitors. However, our analysis brings to light antagonistic emotions among Italian and Slovene visitors, raising important issues concerning the role of emotions and multiperspectivity in dark heritage sites. Hence, we discuss how these emotions could instead promote critical thinking, self-reflection, and cross-national dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Heritage Tourism
Early online date17 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Dark heritage
  • emotion
  • war
  • museum
  • memory
  • empathy

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