Poignant Memories: Consuming D-Day 1944

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

Consumer Behavior in Tourism Symposium (CBTS 2016)


Free University of Bozen-Bolzano


School of Business and Law




Originally published as: MacCarthy, M., Sozen, E., & O’Neill, M. (2016). Poignant memories: Consuming D-Day 1944. Paper presented at the Consumer Behavior in Tourism Symposium (CBTS 2016), Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Bruneck-Brunico, Italy.


This paper examines the how, why and what visitors are consuming at the touristic D-Day Landings Area in Normandy, France. Five researchers visited the area in 2011 employing participant observation and autoethnography to compile a data set that was then interpreted using Holt’s 1995 Typology of Consumption. The in-situ data collection included a number of significant places, towns, museums, cemeteries, gun batteries, beaches and plinths. The diversity of motives and behaviours comprising the visitation experience are specifically divided into four themes; Experience, Integration, Classification and Play. The findings are further organised according to whether the intention is autotelic or instrumental in achieving some further goal. Also according to whether the focus is between the visitor and the Thana-object or whether the Thana-object is a facilitator of the interaction between two or more people. The findings allude to the multiple ways in which consumers experience both Remembrance Tourism and Thanatourism. The findings also highlight the various techniques used by custodians of the D-Day area as they engineer experiences for visitor consumption.