Monday, June 06, 2016

Travelers and travelers

So it turns out the literature on pilgrimage is vast, and fascinating. And to the delight of this theorist of religion, there are lots of juicy theoretical questions too. Is pilgrimage a transaction - I bring X to Y and get Z? Does it lead to centers or peripheries? Is it primarily an activity of lay people, coopted by religious institutions and promoted by political authorities eager for prestige and revenue? What should one make of the fact that many pilgrims in the past have been traders? More recently, can one distinguish pilgrimage from tourism? (One much-cited writer subsumes both under "voluntary travel.") Much to ponder!

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