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Powers of Pilgrimage
Religion in a World of Movement
A groundbreaking reframing of religious pilgrimage
Pious processions. Sites of miraculous healing. Journeys to far-away sacred places. These are what are usually called to mind when we think of religious pilgrimage. Yet while pilgrimage can include journeying to the heart of sacred shrines, it can also occur in apparently mundane places. Indeed, not everyone has the resources or mobility to take part in religiously inspired movement to foreign lands, and some find meaning in religious movement closer to home and outside of officially sanctioned practices. Powers of Pilgrimage argues that we must question the universality of Western assumptions of what religion is and where it should be located, including the notion that “genuine” pilgrimage needs to be associated with discrete, formally recognized forms of religiosity.
This necessary volume makes the case for expanding our gaze to reconsider the salience, scope, and scale of contemporary forms of pilgrimage and pilgrimage-related activity. It shows that we need to reflect on how pilgrimage sites, journeys, rituals, stories, and metaphors are entangled with each other and with wider aspects of people’s lives, ranging from an action as trivial as a stroll down the street to the magnitude of forced migration to another country or continent.
Offering a new theoretical lexicon and framework for exploring human pilgrimage, Powers of Pilgrimage presents a broad overview of how we can understand pilgrimage activity and proposes that it should be understood not solely as going to, staying at, and leaving a sacred place, but also as occurring in ordinary times, places, and practices.