Dr. Luke Bennett, a Senior Lecturer & Course Leader at the Department of the Built Environment at Sheffield Hallam University, UK, is a leading, perhaps the leading ‘Bunkerologist’. In fact it was he who created the term – meaning ‘the study of bunkers’. For a recent publication on the subject, see : Who goes there? Accounting for gender in the urge to explore abandoned military bunkers’ in: Gender, Place and Culture (A Journal of Feminist Geography), Volume 20, Issue 5, 2013.

The author points out that the vast majority (though not all) bunker enthusiasts are male, and offers some ideas on why that might be the case. For example:

“From a Freudian psychoanalytic perspective, there is perhaps much that could be made of the focus, within this culture, of the shelter-as-womb and the preoccupation with penetration and return to that protective space.”

and/or possibly because of, or connected with:

“[…] a peripatetic nostalgia borne of a medley of factors: a primal urge to retreat to a place of (defensive) shelter, a nostalgia for a time where male roles had more clarity and importance (e.g. as ‘defender’), the alienation of deindustrialisation, the move away from a culture of ‘making things’ and a desire in retirement or redundancy to return to or to protect the working-life material places and artefacts that formerly gave life (and male identity) meaning.”

For further info., the author maintains a blog called ‘lukebennett13 ‘Tracing the spectacular within the humdrum of the built environment’ which features a number of bunkerological posts.

Note: Improbable apologises for the late notice regarding an event in a (somewhat) related field which is cited in the paper : Shedism. The International Men’s Sheds Festival 2014 was held October 3rd – 5th, 2014, Dublin, Ireland,

Coming soon : The testicular fortitude of urbexers

[many thanks to Dr. Bennett for his assistance]

UPDATE [November 16, 2014] from Dr. Bennett.