Award Date

August 2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Hotel Administration

First Committee Member

BO BERNHARD

Second Committee Member

DAVID CHRISTIANSON

Third Committee Member

ROBERT WOODS

Fourth Committee Member

LORI OLAFSON

Number of Pages

162

Abstract

This dissertation presents an empirical phenomenological study of celebrity grave tourists at the site of Marilyn Monroe's grave in Los Angeles, CA. The purpose of this study was to fill a gap in the literature regarding the lived experience of celebrity grave tourists and their underlying motivations. This project was significant because it better explained an under-represented aspect of dark tourism by addressing the behaviors and motivations behind celebrity grave tourism. A qualitative empirical phenomenological method was employed. This approach relied upon the use of multiple in depth e-mail interviews and theme analysis. The results of the study suggested that people will seek out dark tourism when it involves an iconic celebrity who is part of larger American pop culture, which was how people perceived Marilyn Monroe. Regardless of whether or not people are fans or feel personally connected with Marilyn Monroe, visiting her gravesite can be a fascinating experience for tourists.

Keywords

Celebrity; Cemetery; Grave; Los Angeles; Marilyn Monroe; Tourist

Disciplines

Business Administration, Management, and Operations

Language

English


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