The Seductions of Pilgrimage: Sacred Journeys Afar and Astray in the Western Religious Tradition, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Seductions of Pilgrimage

Sacred Journeys Afar and Astray in the Western Religious Tradition, 1st Edition

Edited by Michael A. Di Giovine, David Picard


288 pages

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The Seductions of Pilgrimage explores the simultaneously attractive and repellent, beguiling and alluring forms of seduction in pilgrimage. It focuses on the varied discursive, imaginative, and practical mechanisms of seduction that draw individual pilgrims to a pilgrimage site; the objects, places, and paradigms that pilgrims leave behind as they embark on their hyper-meaningful travel experience; and the often unforeseen elements that lead pilgrims off their desired course. Presenting the first comprehensive study of the role of seduction on individual pilgrims in the study of pilgrimage and tourism, it will appeal to scholars of anthropology, cultural geography, tourism, heritage, and religious studies.


‘This captivating collection of essays addresses an important contemporary challenge for the anthropology of pilgrimage. Through ethnographically rich chapters this book demonstrates the central role of seduction in the experience of contemporary pilgrims.’

Anna Fedele, CRIA-University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal, author of Looking for Mary Magdalene

‘The contributions in The Seductions of Pilgrimage contain a wealth of detail about the ways the modalities of early religious pilgrimage spill over into contemporary tourist experience. Collectively they shed a bright light on the religious roots of assumptions about the seductive and transformative powers of travel. The introduction by Di Giovine and Picard establishes a strong rationale for incorporating analysis of seduction in religious and tourism studies.’

Dean MacCannell, University of California, Davis, USA, author of The Tourist and The Ethics of Sightseeing

‘Historical commentaries and fieldwork-derived insights on the sensory delights, dangers, digressions and paradoxes of pilgrimage frame this alluring volume, which tempts us to reconsider the meanings, attractions and multi-functionality of pilgrimage in the twenty-first century. Literally concentrating on the sensational, and casting fresh light on some familiar sites and scholarly apparatus in the study of pilgrimage, this important and intriguing collection contributes valuably to our evolving understanding and appreciation of pilgrimage as a complex phenomenon which practitioners and scholars alike find endlessly entrancing.’

Marion Bowman, The Open University, UK, co-editor of Vernacular Religion in Everyday Life

‘The book will appeal not just to scholars, but also to a general readership having an interest in spiritual philosophy and pilgrimage. Even tourism policy-makers and destination management organizations in nations or markets where pilgrimage tourism is important will find this book useful. In sum, the lessons in this book can contribute to a better understanding of the roles of tangible and intangible assets in keeping the pilgrim sites attractive and relevant.’

Jeet Dogra, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, in Annals of Tourism Research, 60 (September 2016)

‘A rich tapestry of contexts and perspectives on the topic. … Of special interest for those looking for some stimulating reading for their own reflections on the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.’

Martin Robra, Special Advisor to the General Secretary, World Council of Churches, in The Ecumenical Review, 68:4 (December 2016)

Table of Contents

Foreword, Jas’ Elsner; Introduction: pilgrimage and seduction in the Abrahamic tradition, Michael A. Di Giovine and David Picard; Purity as danger? Seduction and sexuality at Walsingham, Simon Coleman; The seductions of guiding: Jewish-Israeli tour guides on the Christian Holy Land pilgrimage, Jackie Feldman; ‘As if the road there is covered with honey’: inquiries into the seductiveness of a Greek orthodox monastery in Arizona for Russian orthodox parish pilgrims, Julia Klimova; The seductiveness of saints: interreligious pilgrimage sites in Hatay and the ritual transformations of agency, Jens Kreinath; The seduction of the past in new age pilgrimage, Jill Dubisch; Seduction in the ‘Gypsy pilgrimage’ at Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Ellen Badone; Seductions of suffering: stigmata, salvation and pilgrimage to the sanctuary of St. Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, Michael A. Di Giovine; The seductions of the way: the return of the pilgrim and the road to Compostela as a liminal space, Eduardo Chemin; ‘Up In God’s great cathedral’: evangelism, astronauts, and the seductiveness of outer space, Deana L. Weibel; Index.

About the Editors

Michael A. Di Giovine is an anthropologist with major research interests in comparative religion, pilgrimage, tourism and heritage policy. He is Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at West Chester University, and an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Michael is the author of The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage and Tourism, the co-editor of Tourism and the Power of Otherness: Seductions of Difference, also with David Picard, and Edible Identities: Food and Foodways as Cultural Heritage with Ronda Brulotte. He has published extensively on the practices and the ethics behind the heritage and tourism fields.

David Picard is an anthropologist working at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, with research interests in tourism, hospitality, sustainable development and winemaking. He has carried out research in the Western Indian Ocean (mainly La Réunion and Madagascar), Australia, Portugal and Argentina/Antarctica. His main publications include a single-authored book, Tourism, Magic and Modernity and five edited volumes, Festivals, Tourism and Social Change, The Framed World, Emotion in Motion, Couchsurfing Cosmopolitanisms, and Tourism and the Power of Otherness, also with Michael A. Di Giovine.

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
RELIGION / Comparative Religion
RELIGION / Holidays / General