Mobile Lifeworlds: An Ethnography of Tourism and Pilgrimage in the Himalayas, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Mobile Lifeworlds

An Ethnography of Tourism and Pilgrimage in the Himalayas, 1st Edition

By Christopher A. Howard


182 pages

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pub: 2016-08-02
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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

About the Author

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.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Pilgrimage, Religious Travel and Tourism

The public prominence of religion has increased globally in recent years, while places associated with religion, such as pilgrimage centers, and famous cathedrals, temples and shrines, have attracted growing numbers of visitors and media attention. Such developments are part of a global process where different forms of travel – physical movement such as labor and lifestyle migration, tourism of various forms, the cultural heritage industry and pilgrimage – have become a major feature of the modern world. These translocal and transnational processes involve flows of not just people but also material objects, ideas, information, images and capital.

The public prominence of religion aligned to the modern growth of tourism (sometimes now claimed as the world’s single largest industry) has created a new dynamic relationship between religion, travel and tourism. It has been mirrored by expanding academic research in these areas over the last twenty years across a variety of disciplinary areas, ranging from anthropology, sociology, geography, history and religious studies to newly emergent areas such as tourism and migration studies. Such studies have also expanded exponentially in terms of the geographic spread of places, religions and regions being researched.

This series provides a new forum for studies based around these themes, drawing together research on the relationships between religion, travel and tourism. These include studies from global and cross-cultural perspectives of topics, such as:

  • commoditization and consumerism;
  • media representations of religion, travel and tourism;
  • heritage, tourism and the cultural politics of religious representation;
  • gender, sexuality and religious movements;
  • religion and travel writing;
  • ideological and violent struggles over religion and resistance to tourist intrusion;
  • inter-religious engagement;
  • religion, tourism, landscape and performance; and
  • thanatourism and pilgrimage to sites of suffering.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General