In this panel we want to examine intellectual contributions and debates involving the anthropological study of pilgrimage both across Europe and further afield. We want to locate the region within a global context where research draws on both European and non-European traditions.
In the rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field of pilgrimage studies, which covers not just religious pilgrimage but other key forms such as secular pilgrimage, spiritual pilgrimage, dark tourism, the relationship between travel, tourism and pilgrimage, many of the theoretical debates, methodological approaches and researchers have focused on the European context and most contributors are European in origin. In contemporary Europe the influence of different types of migration and tourism is becoming evident at some major Christian shrines and has also led to the emergence of non-Christian sites (primarily Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim). The diversity and complexity of pilgrimage practices is also apparent at more local shrines in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, for example, as members of trans-local communities return to their native countries during the summer holidays or re-settle. The growth of spiritual and secular pilgrimage and religious tourism adds to this diversity and complexity. Battlefield tourism and military pilgrimage illustrate the importance of cultural heritage since Europe continues to act as a magnet to non-European visitors, such as Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, who feel connected through a shared past. In this panel we want to examine intellectual contributions and debates involving the anthropological study of pilgrimage (religious, spiritual, secular etc) both across Europe and further afield. We want to locate the region within a global context where research draws on both European and non-European traditions. We want to discuss not only the issues of reflexivity and autobiography but also discursive traditions linked to political and cultural systems.