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Post-Secular Tourism: A Study of Pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5790-5922
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis takes its starting-point in the post-secular changes in society and how these interplay with tourism. In spite of the intensive academic debate on and theorisation of the post-secular and post-secularism, the role of tourism in this change, called the return of religion, has not been studied. Conversely, neither has the role of post-secularism in tourism been addressed. The overall aim of this thesis is to describe and understand the relation between post-secularism and tourism. Specifically, the aim is to clarify and understand the relation between religious faith, place and tourism in our time on the basis of a case study of pilgrimage in the area of Santiago de Compostela. In other words, the thesis highlights the role of tourism in the emergence of what is now called the post-secular condition.

Santiago de Compostela is a Catholic Church instituted holy city, which has increase in number of visitors. The growing number of pilgrimages and their significance lend vitality to the return of religion phenomenon. The empirical material derives primarily from individual interviews as narratives are considered to be a vital dimension to constitute and construct human realities and modes of being.

This thesis shows that contemporary pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is a post-secular performative and place-creating phenomenon. Post-secular tourist places are subjective and spiritually meaningful destinations. Unlike traditional pilgrimage destinations a key attribute is that neither traditional religious faith nor loyalty to institutionalised faith are (pre)ordained. Rather, place is constructed by the narratives and experiences of post-secular tourists.

Abstract [en]

This thesis takes its starting-point in the post-secular changes in society and how these interplay with tourism. In spite of the intensive academic debate on and theorisation of the post-secular and post-secularism, the role of tourism in this change, called the return of religion, has not been studied. Conversely, neither has the role of post-secularism in tourism been addressed. The overall aim of this thesis is to describe and understand the relation between post-secularism and tourism. Specifically, the aim is to clarify and understand the relation between religious faith, place and tourism in our time on the basis of a case study of pilgrimage in the area of Santiago de Compostela. In other words, the thesis highlights the role of tourism in the emergence of what is now called the post-secular condition.

This thesis shows that contemporary pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is a post-secular performative and place-creating phenomenon. Post-secular tourist places are subjective and spiritually meaningful destinations. Unlike traditional pilgrimage destinations a key attribute is that neither traditional religious faith nor loyalty to institutionalised faith are (pre)ordained. Rather, place is constructed by the narratives and experiences of post-secular tourists.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2016. , p. 78
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2
Keywords [en]
Post-Secular, Tourism, Pilgrimage, Sacred Place, Santiago de Compostela
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38900ISBN: 978-91-7063-679-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-38900DiVA, id: diva2:886256
Public defence
2016-02-19, 11D257, Agardhsalen, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-01-28 Created: 2015-12-16 Last updated: 2018-02-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Pilgrimage or Sacred Tourism?: A Modern Phenomenon eith Historical Roots, with Examples from Fatima and Santiago de Compostela
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pilgrimage or Sacred Tourism?: A Modern Phenomenon eith Historical Roots, with Examples from Fatima and Santiago de Compostela
2008 (English)In: Revista Turismo & Desenvolvimento, ISSN 1645-9261Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

                                            This article discusses the phenomenon of pilgrim tourism from a post-modern perspective characterized by an increasing secularization and illustrates, with the aid of a couple of examples - Santiago de Compostela in SpainspainSubject Category: Geographic Entitiessee more details and Fatima in PortugalportugalSubject Category: Geographic Entitiessee more details - the distinctive features of this type of tourism-related product and links it to a regional developmentregional developmentSubject Category: Miscellaneoussee more details perspective. It is increasingly obvious that the world is becoming more polarized with an orthodox conservative religious wind blowing across the world while an increasingly secular view of life is gaining ground reducing religiousness in daily life to an inferior position. The importance of the desire to visit religious sites to find fellowship and achieve mental satisfaction is gaining ground. Irrespective of the individual's purpose in making their journey to various sacred sites in the world, the tourism industry is growing in importance here and thus, in the future, ever greater demands will be placed on the regional and local actors who receive visitors at these sites. There are considerable opportunities for these actors to further develop sacred tourism as a post-modern tourism niche.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Aveiro: , 2008
Keywords
Case studies, pilgrimages, regional development, religious tourism, tourism development
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-22425 (URN)
Available from: 2013-01-21 Created: 2013-01-21 Last updated: 2018-02-22Bibliographically approved
2. Wanderers in the shadow of the sacred myth: pilgrims in the 21st Century
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Wanderers in the shadow of the sacred myth: pilgrims in the 21st Century
2016 (English)In: Social & cultural geography (Print), ISSN 1464-9365, E-ISSN 1470-1197, p. 1-18Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Drawing on qualitative interviews with people journeying to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, this paper examines contemporary forms of pilgrimage. The journeys are found to encompass elements of both pilgrimage and tourism, blending the sacred and the profane. Contemporary pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is shown to be an expression of new forms of spirituality, as well as reflecting the global increase in tourism, rather than as a revival of a traditional religious practice. At one level, the sacred meaning of Santiago de Compostela is thus shifting. A sense of the historical sacredness of the Way persists, however, and this is as an important backdrop for the understanding and experience of the contemporary pilgrim.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2016
Keywords
Pilgrimage, Sacred Place, PIlgrims, Post-Secular, Tourism and Santiago de Compostela
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38908 (URN)10.1080/14649365.2016.1249398 (DOI)
Available from: 2015-12-17 Created: 2015-12-17 Last updated: 2018-02-22Bibliographically approved
3. Performing the "Post-Secular" in Santiago de Compostela
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Performing the "Post-Secular" in Santiago de Compostela
2016 (English)In: Annals of Tourism Research, ISSN 0160-7383, E-ISSN 1873-7722, Vol. 57, p. 18-30Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Current debates on and theorizations of (post)secularism lack sustained discussions of the role of pilgrimage tourism, spiritual journeys and sacred places. This article is a theoretically informed and empirically based study that explores contemporary pilgrimage tourism as an arena where ‘post-secular’ praxis and discourse fuse. It identifies the multiple ways in which the ‘post-secular’ is performed through pilgrimage tourism, viz. construction of identities, journeys of becoming and performativity as instances of mobile place making. Contemporary pilgrimage tourism to Santiago de Compostela is polyvalent. Pilgrimages cannot be read off as unambiguously religious, secular or post-secular. Pilgrimage tourism spaces are open-ended such that place identity and meaning are being continuously reworked.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016
Keywords
Post-secular; Plcae; Performativity; Santiago de Compostela;Pilgrimage; Polyvalent mobilities
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38909 (URN)10.1016/j.annals.2015.11.001 (DOI)000372685200002 ()
Available from: 2015-12-17 Created: 2015-12-17 Last updated: 2018-02-22Bibliographically approved
4. The way to Santiago beyond Santiago. Fisterra and the pilgrimage´s post-secular meaning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The way to Santiago beyond Santiago. Fisterra and the pilgrimage´s post-secular meaning
2016 (English)In: European Journal of Tourism Research, ISSN 1994-7658, E-ISSN 1314-0817, Vol. 12, p. 133-146Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is a growing demand for pilgrimage, which in turn seems to be linked to the change in content and performance that the practice of pilgrimage is undergoing. This paper examines the emergence of Fisterra as a “new” end destination for the pilgrims. The aim of this study is to shed light on and create understanding of the destination Fisterra and the meaning of the place and the role it plays for the pilgrims. Empirically, the study is partly based on statistics and official documents and partly on interviews with pilgrims at Fisterra. The study concludes that contemporary Fisterra as the end of the journey should be perceived as an effect of the post-secular trend in Europe as well as a response to the fact that the historical goal of Santiago de Compostela is increasing

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Varna University of Management, 2016
Keywords
Pilgrim, Santiago de Compostela, Fisterra, Tourism, Post-secular, experientially based approach
National Category
Cultural Studies
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38910 (URN)000385376600008 ()
Available from: 2015-12-17 Created: 2015-12-17 Last updated: 2018-02-22Bibliographically approved

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