Social representations of war tourism: a case of Ukraine

Nigel Leroy Williams, Philipp Wassler*, Giancarlo Fedeli

*Corresponding author for this work

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War tourism is a scarcely researched topic, although the presence of spectators in war zones is attested throughout history. In addition to visiting sites of past conflict, “hot” war tourism in active war zones is on the rise. This study looks at how “war tourism” is represented within an online community of (aspiring) war tourists, taking the case of the recent conflict in Ukraine. Social Representations Theory is applied though a Topic Modeling Approach for this purpose. Findings show that war tourism is represented though “hot war travel,” “combat volunteering,” “non-combat volunteering,” and “virtual war travel.” This suggests a complicated relationship between war tourism, volunteering, and voyeurism in a new form of “hybrid war tourism” in online and offline realms. Future research should aim at a deeper understanding of these concepts and the complex links between them.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Early online date5 Jan 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 5 Jan 2023


  • war tourism
  • topic modeling
  • volunteering
  • social representations
  • Ukraine

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