Inspired by the Camino de Santiago, pilgrimage is being reframed and re-presented even in regions where it was long discredited and discontinued. The panel explores heritagisation and the transformation of pilgrimage taking place on recently restored and 're-storied' Northern European routes.
The trend of 'Caminoised' pilgrimage has reached Northern Europe, even in places where the very idea of 'going on a pilgrimage' had to be reintroduced from scratch. New and refurbished pilgrimage sites and routes have now become loci for the performance and negotiation of a variety of identities and practices, many of which transcend conventional confessional, ethnic or national divides. Providing new cultural foci and the potential for economic regeneration, these pilgrim paths are putting places back on the map, and becoming significant as 'loose spaces' in which a plurality of actors engage with multi-layered heritage: local traditions and stories are revived, made visible and linked to European narrative cultures; old religious practices are given contemporary meanings; the history of transnational routes is revived and connected to a multitude of agendas. New pilgrimage is seen as having potential for integration as well as contestation. The appeal of 'routes with roots' appears immense. The panel will examine recently refurbished and newly configured pilgrimage routes in Northern Europe and the ways in which they frame the practice of pilgrimage as cultural heritage. The papers will explore the dynamics of the trend towards heritagisation of religion and the instrumentalisation of pilgrimage visible in these developments, analysing impacts on local, national and religious identities and praxis.