Mobile Lifeworlds illustrates how the imaginaries and ideals of Western travellers, especially those of untouched nature and spiritual enlightenment, are consistent with media representations of the Himalayan region, romanticism and modernity at large. Blending tourism and pilgrimage, travel across Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and Northern India is often inspired and oriented by a search for authenticity, adventure and Otherness. Such valued ideals are shown, however, to be contested by the very forces and configurations that enable global mobility.
The role ubiquitous media and mobile technologies now play in framing travel experiences are explored, revealing a situation in which actors are neither here nor there, but increasingly are ‘inter-placed’ across planetary landscapes. Beyond institutionalised religious contexts and the visiting of sacred sites, the author shows how a secular religiosity manifests in practical, bodily encounters with foreign environments. This book is unique in that it draws on a dynamic and innovative set of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, especially phenomenology, the mobilities paradigm and philosophical anthropology. The volume breaks fresh ground in pilgrimage, tourism and travel studies by unfolding the complex relationships between the virtual, imaginary and corporeal dynamics of contemporary mobile lifeworlds.
Table of Contents
Introduction. 1 Questions of Travel: Meanings, Experiences and Change in Tourism and Pilgrimage. 2 Magic Mountains: The Himalayas as a Symbolic Landscape. 3 Methodological Wayfinding: Phenomenology, Mobile Ethnography and Serendipity. 4 Lost Horizons: On the Interplay of Virtual, imaginary and Corporeal Mobilities. 5 To the Village Where No Roads Go: Searching for Authentic Nature-Culture in Himalayas. 6 Travailing: Boundary Crossing and Bodily Disruption in Nepal and India. 7 Being Where? Mobile Inter-Placing in the Age of Digital Ge-Stell. Conclusion
Christopher A. Howard is Visiting Lecturer in the College of General Studies at Boston University. Drawing on social theory and interpretative methodologies, his research focuses on the changing relations between humans, environment and technology. His recent publications cover topics ranging from neoliberalism in the Pacific Rim to being online, and the urban/rural divide.
"The strength of the book is its engagement with major studies on the anthropology of pilgrimages and tourism in every chapter, particularly the first and concluding chapters. The author has also done an excellent job of exploring the impacts of modernization and digitization on Himalayan pilgrimages..." Smita Yadav, International Mountain Society