BUT DO YOU ACTUALLY CARE?

Tess Scholfield-Peters

Abstract


This article explores the notion of empathy through the contemporary lens of social media performativity relating to ‘dark tourism’. Examining Auschwitz as a case study, the article explores the post-Holocaust idea that often this empathy is precarious and accompanied by performed authenticity.

Through analysis, this article focuses on concepts of ‘dark tourism’, vicarious victimhood, conspicuous compassion, and self-representation, all portrayed through Instagram. It argues that ‘pilgrimages’ to dark sites of trauma act not only as memorialisation but as spaces of self-validation and representation.

In the contemporary Western world, the distinction between ‘authentic’ empathy and conspicuous, socially informed performance is blurred as a result of digitisation and increased pressure on the individual to form empathic connections and then post about it online.

 


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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/cinder2019art865

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