Everyday Geopolitics: Nationalist Subjectivities and ANZAC Thanatourism

Researcher: Dr Emma Waterton
Funding: UWS International Research Initiatives Scheme
Period: 2011-2012

This project explores the affective experiences of memorial visitors using methodological innovations that can open up collective experiences of place and related intensities of affect. The research questions are both theoretical and methodological: First, how are affective spaces of thanatourism produced via specific practices, materials and relations? Second, how do we best capture this affective dimension? Recovering the affective dimension requires the adoption of innovative methods capable of qualitatively investigating sensory experiences and the means by which people imbue touristic sites with meaning. This project engages in unobtrusive observation, supplemented with a form of performative ethnography advocated by Morgan and Pritchard (2005). Close description of bodily responses to the rituals and sites of memorials will be collected, such as participants’ posture, gestures, smiles, tears, spontaneous hand-holding, etc. (as per McCormack 2003). Close observation of the engagements and orientations of participants vis-à-vis landscape elements will be used to note the role of the non-human in co-producing affects.

Two images: one of red poppies on an ANZAC memorial (list of names), and the other of a room with pictures on the wall and displays.