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Accepted Paper:

Pilgrimage as a Construction of the Pilgrim Body  
Tereza Picková (Charles University in Prague)

Paper short abstract:

I want to look at pilgrimage from the perspective of anthropology of the body, and describe it as a construction of a four- dimensional habitus called Pilgrim body. I will present strategies used to gain such, and try to answer the question how to use this "new body" after the pilgrimage is over.

Paper long abstract:

My approach focuses on the changing face of Europe's most massive pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, which I use as a case study to show, how todays pilgrims understand their experience. Through the analysis of interviews with 9 other pilgrims and my own auto-ethnographic diary with a strong dose of reflexivity I want to show, that pilgrimage can be understood as a process of constructing a Pilgrim body. To gain such form of habitus, or in other words "to become a pilgrim", is achieved through several different strategies, such as walking, socialising, solitude, separation (from everyday life), asceticism, and others. This experience results in a form of gained habitus, or a technique of the body (Mauss 1968) which can be learnt, and used in everyday life after the pilgrimage ends. Pilgrim body is then a complex skill, consisting of physical, psychical, spiritual and social dimension, each describing different aspect of the pilgrimage itself, all embodied in the physical body of a pilgrim. Through such approach I want to show, that we might understand pilgrimage as a form of physical experience with transcendental overlap, focused mainly on individual progress, but constructed together in friendly communitas of pilgrims, described by Victor Turner in his classic study (Turner 2004). Usage of these benefits gained from pilgrimage, and life of Pilgrim body in everyday life will be discussed as well.

Panel P100
Migration, tourism, business: reconfiguring Muslim pilgrimage through the lens of women's new mobilities
  Session 1 Thursday 16 August, 2018, -