Urban Regeneration and Rural Neglect: The Pall of Dark Tourism in Cambodia

Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Between 1975 and 1979 upwards of two million men, women, and children died in the Cambodia genocide. Decades after the cessation of direct violence, the question of reconciliation in Cambodia remains fraught, in part because of competing claims over the meaning of reconciliation; and also because of the ‘authorship’ of Cambodia’s past. Coincident with the contestation over the meaning and memory, there has been an effort to promote the genocide as an investment strategy, that is, to cultivate the growing number of ‘dark tourists’ wanting to visit sites associated with the genocide. Simply put, to not forget, in this context, is to profit. In this chapter, I consider both the positive and negative aspects of the marketing and memorialization of the Cambodian genocide from the standpoint of urban regeneration. The genocide was largely rural in practice, as urban areas were depopulated, with men, women, and children forced onto agricultural cooperatives. Sites of remembrance, however, are largely urban-based. The promotion of dark tourism in Cambodia, ironically, potentially facilitates urban regeneration to the neglect of rural areas. This has profound implications, both for the authorship and interpretation of the genocide and for the survivors.


Dark tourism Collective memory Cultural heritage Genocide Phnom Penh Cambodia 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyKent State UniversityKentUSA

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