Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Pilgrimage

Historical, Current and Future Directions

by Heather A. Warfield (Volume editor)
©2023 Edited Collection XIV, 344 Pages
Series: Pilgrimage Studies, Volume 1


As a niche field, pilgrimage studies has long been multidisciplinary and draws interest from pilgrims, practitioners, and academic scholars. Despite the burgeoning corpus of pilgrimage literature, there is a gap related to disciplinary-specific publications which reflect how pilgrimage is conceptualised and studied by academics. Moreover, many academic publications assume the reader is familiar with particular research methods and/or theoretical paradigms that inform the work, which is often not the case. The goal of the current volume is to present a foundational text for understanding various disciplines that contribute to the field of pilgrimage studies and to bridge the gulf between academic scholarship and ‘popular’ pilgrimage literature. To this end, each chapter is organised in a similar format, which includes an overview of the discipline or field of study, a brief history, and the types of questions that are addressed by the discipline. Building on this foundation, the chapters include a section on contemporary literature pertaining to pilgrimage or pilgrimage-like phenomena. Authors further consider theoretical perspectives and methodological concerns. Finally, authors explore recommendations for future research and/or directions for advanced exploration. The volume includes chapters from disciplines formerly silent on pilgrimage phenomena such as public administration, information studies, and digital humanities.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword
  • Introduction (Heather A. Warfield)
  • 1. Public Administration Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Bruce D. McDonald, III)
  • 2. Medieval History Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Anne E. Bailey)
  • 3. Digital Humanities Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Ian Styler)
  • 4. Gender Studies Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Alison T. Smith)
  • 5. History of Medicine Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Kathryn Hurlock)
  • 6. Ritual Studies Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Paul Post)
  • 7. Tourism Studies Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Jaeyeon Choe)
  • 8. Environmental Studies Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Joy Ackerman)
  • 9. Sociology Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Hossein Godazgar)
  • 10. Geography Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Daniel H. Olsen)
  • 11. Psychology Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Heather A. Warfield)
  • 12. Information Studies Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Kenneth David Strang)
  • 13. Anthropology Perspectives on Pilgrimage (Michael A. Di Giovine and Deana L. Weibel)
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
  • Series Index

←x | xi→


I would like to thank all of the chapter contributors for turning a collaborative idea into reality. Getting to know all of you a bit better throughout this project has been a highlight of my career. Much appreciation is also extended to Lucy Melville at Peter Lang, who has patiently guided me through launching the Pilgrimage Studies series. I also want to acknowledge Dr. Suzanne van der Beek and Dr. Philip Dunshea, both of whom were present for the project’s inception. Lastly, many thanks to Jonah Bayer for your editing assistance and to Ian Noel for your contributions to the organisation, editing, and indexing of the volume.

The trajectory of this volume has been intertwined with the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as personal losses for many of the chapter contributors. For some, the volume represents a metaphorical phoenix rising from the ashes. For all, the book reflects our shared humanity, the spirit of collaboration, the pilgrimages that inspire us, and the pilgrims who embody a quest for meaning.

←xii | xiii→


As Heather A. Warfield notes in this fine, pioneering multi-disciplinary collection, pilgrimage studies has grown exponentially since the early 1990s. During the 1970s and 1980s the Anglophone study of pilgrimage was largely the preserve of historians, who focused on Christian pilgrimage across mediaeval Europe. Anglophone explorations of contemporary pilgrimage in the European region were largely left to travel writers and journalists (the two were often intertwined). However, important pioneering publications were appearing in English, based on research outside the European region, while the study of contemporary pilgrimage was advancing outside the Anglophone world in European countries such as Italy and in Latin America.

So, this volume plays a crucial role in helping us to look beyond geographical and disciplinary boundaries despite the persistent tendency to defy this inclusive approach and play safe. What I found particularly impressive and illuminating is the bringing together of the familiar and the novel. So besides chapters on research by historians, geographers and anthropologists, as well as those working in tourism studies and ritual studies, overviews are provided from the perspectives of public administration, digital humanities, gender studies, history of medicine, environmental studies, sociology, psychology and information studies. This approach enables us to understand the crucial role played by theoretical and methodological changes across the English-speaking academic world since the 1980s in helping pilgrimage studies to expand and diversify.

The strength of this collection lies in its focus on human agency. At the same time, some of the contributions point to the role played by other-than-human agency in pilgrimage – an issue that has attracted the interest of geographers and anthropologists, in particular, and offers new ways of approaching the subject. Another development in pilgrimage studies that complements the volume’s inclusive endeavour is the building of global networks through digital communication. The study of pilgrimage has ←xiii | xiv→moved a long way from the 1980s in other words and this volume will make a very welcome contribution to the dynamic field of pilgrimage studies which challenges the constraints of disciplinary, territorial, conceptual and cultural boundaries.

John Eade
University of Roehampton, Toronto University

←xiv | 1→



This volume emerged after many years of dialogue with pilgrimage scholars and practitioners around the desire to better understand pilgrimage phenomena from myriad frameworks. Such conversations oriented around potential scholarly collaborations, with a particular emphasis on balancing the challenges related to shared knowledge and the enthusiasm to collaborate. For example, anthropologists, geologists, and tourism researchers do not structurally consider pilgrimage in the same manner, despite a shared interest in the topic. However, this shared interest, enthusiasm for collaboration, and cultivation of inclusive discourse are reasons so many have found a home within pilgrimage studies. Because of the coexistence of scholars, laypeople, practitioners, and pilgrims in this community, it seemed helpful to produce a volume that offered background and contextual information about the disciplinary framework(s) scholars may utilise when approaching the topic of pilgrimage. In order to further orient the reader to this volume, I want to address my inclusion criteria for academic disciplines. Over the past fifty years, academic disciplines (e.g., philosophy, biology, anthropology) have expanded to include fields of study and, as a result, I use the terms disciplines and fields of study interchangeably. The rationale for this is that meaningful scholarship has been published by scholars in such fields as gender studies, Hispanic studies, and religious studies and these contributions have enhanced our understanding of pilgrimage. A second point of orientation is related to the definition of multidisciplinary. For this volume, I draw from the description offered by Van den Besselaar and Heimeriks: “in multidisciplinary research, the subject under study is approached from different angles, using different disciplinary perspectives. However, neither the theoretical perspectives nor the findings of the various disciplines are integrated in the end” (2001, p. 706). A third note is that this volume is not an exhaustive compendium on disciplinary perspectives on pilgrimage. ←1 | 2→There are many missing perspectives and my hope is to address these in future publications.

As a niche field, pilgrimage studies has long been multidisciplinary and has blossomed over the past thirty years notably after the publication of Contesting the Sacred: The Anthropology of Christian Pilgrimage (Eade & Salnow, 1991) and Sacred Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage (Morinis, 1992). Both publications expanded the conversation from pilgrimage sites and pilgrimages as ritual journeys to include the motivations and meaning constructed by individual pilgrims. Moreover, these publications broadened the aperture of historically anthropological-based pilgrimage scholarship to contributions from a number of other disciplinary paradigms. Such inclusionary volumes have continued to dominate pilgrimage studies precisely because pilgrimage and pilgrim phenomena span disciplinary borders. Examples of this arc include literature organised around particular themes such as international perspectives (e.g., Eade & Albera, 2015), art (e.g., Barush, 2021), location-specific pilgrimages (e.g., Howard, 2016; Laksana, 2016), archaeology (Kristensen & Friese, 2017) and concepts such as dark tourism (e.g., Olsen & Korstanje, 2019), healing (e.g., Dubisch & Winkleman, 2014), and transformation (e.g., Warfield & Hetherington, 2018), to name a few.

Despite the burgeoning corpus of pilgrimage literature, there is a gap related to disciplinary-specific publications that underpin how pilgrimage is conceptualised and studied. Furthermore, many research writings assume the reader is familiar with particular research methods and/or theoretical paradigms that inform the work and, often, this is not the case. The goal of the current volume is to present a foundational text for understanding the various disciplines that contribute to the field of pilgrimage studies. To that end, each chapter is organised in a similar format, with the caveat that some fields are (a) newer fields of study without established historical roots, (b) multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary, and/or (c) the chapter is the first cohesive synthesis between the discipline/field and pilgrimage studies. The chapter structure includes an overview of the discipline or field of study, a brief history, and the types of questions that are addressed by the discipline. Next, there is a section on current literature that pertains to pilgrimage or pilgrimage-like phenomena and authors consider ←2 | 3→theoretical perspectives along with existing or proposed research methods. Finally, authors explore recommendations for future research or directions for advanced exploration.

There are a number of common themes observed across the volume. The first is that most authors trace the lineage of pilgrimage in their respective disciplines to exemplars of Christian pilgrimage and, from scholarly and conceptual perspectives, to the work of Victor and Edith Turner. A second theme is a recognition that our current understanding(s) of pilgrimage are informed by the literature from various disciplinary paradigms and an openness to collaborative endeavours that span myriad theoretical and methodological frameworks. Most authors draw from the work of scholars outside their respective disciplines and utilise terms such as transformation, healing, and identity in an inclusive manner. A third theme is the acknowledgement of the significance of the COVID-19 pandemic as it pertains to both the study of and practice of pilgrimage. Further resulting from the pandemic is the consideration of virtual pilgrimages and possibilities around augmented reality experiences, comparative analyses of in-person and digital pilgrimages, and hybrid research methods.

The volume begins with a new area of pilgrimage studies focus. Bruce McDonald, in Chapter 1: Public Administration Perspectives on Pilgrimage, defines the field as, “an academic field that focuses on the management and policies of governments and nonprofit organizations” (p. 15). It encompasses local government administration and urban planning, organisational behaviour, human resource management, public policy and policy analysis, emergency management, and public budgeting and finance, to name a few. The chapter explores historical perspectives on public administration, citing ancient Egypt and the government’s implementation of administrators for tax collection and public oversight – a practice which was perfected in the United States during the industrial revolution. McDonald asserts the discipline is undervalued and underemployed despite being an invaluable asset to the study of pilgrimage: “Not only can public administration offer insight into how the organizations that develop and support pilgrimages operate, [but also] on how governments and communities can embrace or respond to what a pilgrimage brings... management of networks that are important for a pilgrimage trail to succeed and understand the ethos behind why someone would go on pilgrimage and why some choose to support those who undertake the endeavour” (p. 16). He further observes ←3 | 4→that, given public administration’s concern with group/municipal organisation, interestingly, one of the very few times the discipline has looked at pilgrimage, it viewed it under organisational terms: “as a type of religious gathering equivalent to a voluntary association or nonprofit organization. Here, pilgrims would be viewed as volunteers working towards the pilgrimage’s (or organization’s) higher mission” (p. 17). McDonald offers three potential theoretical approaches to pilgrimage studies, which include Institutional Collective Action, Network Governance, and Public Service Motivation. As many sights and supports for pilgrimages are publicly-funded, or not-for-profit, each of these operational parameters apply to the maintenance and any possible expansions of ancillary service systems for pilgrims as they make a deeply personal trip, aided and undergirded by complex institutional infrastructures. Lastly, McDonald suggests that future research may address understanding the ways in which pilgrimage journeys are supported, inhibited, and/or could be expanded.

In Chapter 2: Medieval History Perspectives on Pilgrimage, Anne Bailey explores the rise of academic interest in pilgrimage studies as a distinct discipline and the expansion of research in the twentieth century. She notes the historical reliance on classical, European (primarily English and Christian) literature and fictional pieces such as Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Bailey then mentions a few of the more common forms of medieval pilgrimage, some of the various activities that are site-specific to each, and the expanding academic literature in the past century. Bailey also provides an overview of research methods related to primary and secondary sources. For example, the primary literature is typically from the period, often in Latin “or a vernacular language” (p. 33). These sources are largely inaccessible to the uninitiated or layperson, so a secondary tier within the primary literature are a few comprehensive tomes that translate and highlight the direct accounts. Secondary literature is the academic corpus of insight gleaned from these compendia (e.g., “journal articles, as chapters in edited volumes or as full-length monographs” [p. 33]). The chapter ultimately spans the range from the historical and fictional accounts to the development of digital modelling to resurrect derelict sites to better “understand how pilgrims of the past encountered, and interacted with, sacred environments” (p. 44). Bailey further expounds on new projects like the St. Thomas Way, which ventures through the use of web-based media to give ←4 | 5→modern-day pilgrims a chance to “see, and hear an imagined medieval world at thirteen different locations along the route” (p. 45). Finally, she highlights the academic revaluation of contemporary, secular travel practices as being forms of non-Christian pilgrimage such as roots pilgrimage, dark pilgrimage, literary pilgrimages, and visits of fans to a celebrity’s grave (p. 46).

In Chapter 3: Digital Humanities Perspectives on Pilgrimage, Ian Styler highlights the notion that those disciplines considered the humanities have historically been text-based. However, with technological advances, the disciplines have naturally become absorbed into digital realms as computing has become the norm in both personal access and within academia. This absorption has significantly advanced the field, which has given way to new means of interpretation and juxtaposition. These advances are evident through the increased use of many applications native within computing capacity for meta-analysis, automation, and “linguistic analysis techniques” (p. 59). All of these have led to more interdisciplinary synthesis and interpretation of data and analysis, and social networking (i.e., Social Network Analysis – SNA; and Sociograms). Moreover, there have been advancements in geographic information software (GIS), which is “a spatial database technology concerned with structuring, integrating, visualising, and analysing spatially referenced data” (p. 60), all of which are integral for connecting multiple points of historical data with geo-coordinates “to be stored, mapped, and analysed” (p. 60). The application of GIS provides integration of “spatial data from multiple sources, [to] manipulate, and then display them, thus revealing patterns that would otherwise have been far more difficult to spot” (p. 61). The application can be used for linking disparate historical accounts or even to analyse contemporary data from Trip Advisor reviews. GIS thus makes it possible for analysts and historians to create and use interactive maps, mapping visualization, and “deep-mapping” when doing research or as a support for the research community by making interactive databases as digital, authoritative compendia. While many resulting potentials exist owing to these digital technologies and their applications, Styler notes the field has been slow to adopt many of them or utilise them to their full potential. He also includes a few case studies profiling the application of digital tools specific to pilgrimage studies.

Chapter 4: Gender Studies Perspectives on Pilgrimage, written by Alison Smith explores the evolution of gender studies as an academic discipline, ←5 | 6→evolving from women’s studies programs in the United States during the 1970s. Smith also considers the fruitful interdisciplinary pairing of gender studies with pilgrimage studies, bearing out some of the ways each inform the other. Smith reflects on historical literature (e.g., Chaucer’s “immortaliz[ation] of the female pilgrim in the character of the Wife of Bath” [p. 83]) and of saints, or the hitherto unknown or under sung female pilgrims whose stories not only bolster the complexities and strength of women in history, but add unique accounts of the hardships and specificities of pilgrimage for women during highly confined historical periods with many more restrictions and diminished power for the (even still) maligned “weak womanhood” (Wilkinson, 1999, p. 200). Smith draws from such literature as early personal narratives and exemplars of LGBTQ+ pilgrimage and cross-gender identification, contemporary feminist spiritual practices, and the cults of female saints. The chapter also highlights the role of female sensibilities toward academia itself, citing the scholar Georgiana Goddard King and her work on the Romanesque and Gothic architecture on the Camino de Santiago, which eschews the “detached, authoritative, and ostensibly objective point of view embraced by the male scholars of her time [...] and validates instead the worth of [her, female] personal experience” (p. 84), imbuing her academic texts with an essential component of the personal and experiential – something integral to the spirit of pilgrimage itself. Lastly, Smith emphasises the fact that many sites of pilgrimage centre around female saints, giving the discipline many circumscribed centres of this interplay between gender studies and pilgrimage studies. This interplay also results in specific case studies that help us understand the role of gender for female saints and the ways the pilgrims relate to their stories and religious symbolism as well as to how pilgrims devote their journeys and any practices upon arrival. Smith concludes the chapter by considering future directions such as non-heteronormative/patriarchal/classically-masculine conceptions of pilgrimage, women, and differently gender-identified pilgrims.

In Chapter 5: History of Medicine Perspectives on Pilgrimage, Kathryn Hurlock considers the history of healing as it frequently intersects inside the bounds of pilgrimage, with faith and miracle at the forefront. She further addresses historical or mythical divine healing, or the association with a saints-archetype, and the subsequent motivation for pilgrims to visit the site or a site associated with “medical miracles” (p. 110). Despite the historical practice of pilgrims visiting pilgrimage sites for healing reasons, Hurlock notes the limited-to-no inclusion of pilgrimage in the many various medical journals ←6 | 7→founded throughout the twentieth century. The one exception to this exclusion is Lourdes, which is both a popular site of healing pilgrimage and the dominant focus of the discipline’s literature and research on pilgrimage. Hurlock contemplates the tension between pilgrimage from the Western perspective of risk to physical health versus non-Western benefits of spiritual and religious undergirding. She also explores paradoxical literature around the ancillary benefits of pilgrimage (e.g., the mental health benefits of traveling on foot and shared community) alongside the hazards of pilgrimage ranging from “high altitude on pilgrims in Nepal and India (Basnyat, 2014) and on Sikh pilgrims to Hemkund Sahib (Sahota & Panwar, 2013), pneumonia, bacteria, or viruses on the Hajj to Mecca” (El-Sheikha et al., 1998; Shirah et al., 2017). Hurlock then stresses the need for expansion beyond the historically Western-centric, post-Reformation, and Christian foci of the discipline. She further notes post-war pilgrimages as an area for future research due to the absence of “religious pilgrimage aimed at healing the physical or mental strains of war, despite the growth of veteran and military pilgrimage in the wake of two world wars” (p. 112).

Paul Post, in Chapter 6: Ritual Studies Perspectives on Pilgrimage, traces the three distinct “phases of design in modern academic research” (p. 117), which have evolved into commonly interdisciplinary “clusters”. The third phase of the research trajectory commenced in the new millennium, wherein the study of pilgrimage began to interface with other subjects such as “healing, sport, leisure, tourism, space and place, culture management, ritual, landscape, heritage, interreligious contacts, migration, religious diversity, cyberspace, etc.” (p. 118). Post further explores dissertations that he supervised at Tilburg University on subjects such as Christian pilgrimage as a problematic or lesser form of the religion, the ancient Turkish city of Ephesus which houses Pagan, Jewish, Christian and Muslim cult traditions and the interfacing of inter-faiths (interriting), the rise of domestic pilgrimage to sacred caves in South Africa, and the development of an application for pilgrims to record their experiences as they travel to Santiago de Compostela. In addition, Post addresses the notion of the topos of the Pilgrim and the Tourist and the different roles each assumes within the study of pilgrimage. Further highlighted are five theoretical and methodological approaches that illuminate the direction and theme pilgrimage research has begun to take from the perspective of religious and ritual study. These include (a) the theory of pilgrims’ central religious identity, and thus ←7 | 8→spiritual motivations, (b) sharing and interriting, (c) interface of interfaith, (d) syncretism and cyberpilgrimage, and (e) the theological voice. Post ends the chapter looking ahead at the discipline by observing the present and some of the effects COVID-19 has had on pilgrimage.

In Chapter 7: Tourism Studies Perspectives on Pilgrimage, Jaeyeon Choe acknowledges that “a tourist is half a pilgrim, if a pilgrim is half a tourist” (Turner & Turner, 1978, p. 20). As tourism studies is a “young field of study,” which was initially a subset concern of anthropology and sociology, the discipline’s scope and method of inquiry has expanded in scope and draws “from disciplinary tools and frameworks found in anthropology, geography, history, economics, psychology, ecology, business, and management studies... as well as environmental studies, urban planning, and development studies” (p. 137). In its original form, pilgrimage is “the oldest form of tourism” and pilgrimage’s link with religion is tightly knit. Choe notes the growth of secular pilgrimage as a major focus of tourism studies and the tension between pilgrimage and tourism with the “political, socio-cultural, behavioural, economic, and geographical” underpinnings of each. Tourism scholars are steadily publishing books, articles, special issues, organising conferences, and founding journals such as the International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage. She further identifies new topics in the research field of tourism include New Age pilgrimage, religious tourism, heritage tourism, cultural tourism, spiritual tourism, dark tourism, and literary pilgrimage. Many of the new topical subsets highlight the flux in secular tourism, or new age/naive, self-fulfilment spiritualism (e.g., Eat, Pray, Love) with serious intentions such as transformation and healing through the endurance of the journey and the incorporation of ritual. Choe further asserts that viewing pilgrimage, from the perspective of tourism research, has vast potentials of hitherto unconsidered material to interpret and integrate into the discipline. She identifies topics for future research consideration such as sustainability, eschewing Eurocentric dominance in the field inquiry, and virtual tourism, which have resulted from remote approaches during periods of travel restriction.

In Chapter 8: Environmental Studies Perspectives on Pilgrimage, Joy Ackerman notes that the field of environmental studies is a mission-oriented, “multi-centred, trans-disciplinary field of academic inquiry with an applied focus at the intersection of human and natural systems” and with a “normative ←8 | 9→commitment to environmental sustainability” (Vincent, 2011). Acknowledging the inherent complexity of environmental issues, the field intersects with many other disciplines to orient from a more holistic viewpoint. From there, elements of the humanities and sociology serve to inform social and environmental justice. Environmental studies, being mission-oriented, attempts to understand topics like pilgrimage research within an implicit or explicit value-based framework. Ackerman suggests “Research on the sustainability or conservation outcomes of pilgrimage aims to contribute in some way to support greener or more sustainable pilgrimage practices, whether the outcomes are a reduction in consumption or waste, or the engagement of pilgrims in conservation learning and pro-environmental behaviour” (p. 154). Environmental studies exists at a fortuitous intersection with pilgrimage studies as pilgrimages that occur within nature are inherently the concern and within the domain of environmental studies as “landscape is understood as a cultural product” and the labour of which “produces sacred space might include pilgrimage in the form of long trail hiking, mountain climbing, and visiting national parks, New Age vortexes, or memorials to historical environmental figures” (p. 162). Ackerman further considers sustainability and conservation approaches towards existing sacred sites – human-made or natural – and how these are being impacted by changes in the climate, along with a commitment to developing strategies for sites and areas as they become important to groups and individuals, and asking how these formulations impact the pilgrim.

In Chapter 9: Sociology Perspectives on Pilgrimage, Hossein Godazgar begins by observing the unmistakable correlations between the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the “public Pan-Hellenic pilgrimages during which the magnificent festival of Zeus [which] was regularly performed by the Greek at Olympia every four years” (p. 177). Godazgar further notes the complexity of pilgrimage events as viewed through the sociological lens and asserts that sociology has a more holistic aperture, thus making it the largest concern within the social sciences. There, pilgrimage tends to be interpreted within the discipline from a socio-religious or cultural phenomenon perspective. Godazgar stresses the importance of utilising the myriad other sociological frameworks available when looking at group movements, politics, economics, culture, psychology, and anthropology as all are important aspects of understanding not only the religiously motivated pilgrimages, but also ←9 | 10→identifying the hitherto, academically undervalued phenomena of study. For example, Godazgar highlights the important historical evolution of the industrial working class, which concurrent with mass-transit developments like trains, resulted in the early formation of the leisure class, and thus a diversification of expressions that pilgrimage can take. No longer strictly religious, annual summertime pilgrimages of the burgeoning middleclass to sites of healing such as Brighton Beach, are now for the pilgrim “just for fun” and “empirical fact” for the sociologist. The patterns and processes of observable rituals that constitute pilgrimage are important examples of social behaviour, rich with intersectional context and meaning. Godazgar further explores the expansion of ancillary economies (e.g., tourism, trade) – all observable in the 2020 Toyko Olympics, as with the Hajj in Mecca, or the recorded history within the Temple Mount of ancient Jerusalem.

In Chapter 10: Geography Perspectives on Pilgrimage, Daniel Olsen traces the field to earth-writing as its Greek etymology denotes and asserts that the field approaches pilgrimage studies uniquely from the perspective of space. “Overall, geography is well positioned to contribute to multi-disciplinary research on pilgrimage” (p. 223) because of its emphasis on the big five – place (and space), location, regions, movement, and human-nature interactions (Natoli, 1994). “Geographers also study themes related to time, distance, scale, landscapes, systems, globalisation, movement, development, and sustainability, to name a few, in addition to the traditional emphasis on cartographic science” (p. 210). Olsen suggests that geography and pilgrimage studies are clearly linked as “Geographers are flexible and adaptable with their use of various theories and methodologies in examining pilgrimage phenomena” (p. 223) and, in many ways, geography is an advantageous orientation through which to study pilgrimage and how peoples organise around space and place, as location and movement play such a fundamental role in the phenomenon of pilgrimage. Olsen also observes that, since the advent of COVID-19, geographers have begun to take note of the “political, economic, and cultural structures and forces that can constrain pilgrimage travel” (p. 222) and their role in expanding the understanding of the “political economy of pilgrimage, focusing both on the role of state governance and economic entities on religious mobilities and how religious organisations affects economic performance and political ←10 | 11→decision making” (p. 222). He also emphasises the over-looked or “taken-for-granted” nature of the discipline, and how “geographers who study pilgrimage need to do a better job explaining to scholars in allied disciplines the value of a geographic approach to pilgrimage and how that approach can inform and enrichen other disciplinary perspectives” (p. 223).


XIV, 344
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2023 (May)
Pilgrimage literature Academic scholars Multidisciplinary pilgrimage studies global audience
Lausanne, Berlin, Bruxelles, Chennai, New York, Oxford, 2023. XIV, 344 pp., 7 b/w ill., 4 b/w tables.

Biographical notes

Heather A. Warfield (Volume editor)

Heather A. Warfield is Associate Professor of Counseling, Psychology & Therapy at Antioch University New England. She received her Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in 2013 and, prior to moving to New Hampshire, taught at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. Dr. Warfield’s research is broadly aimed at exploring the psychological and therapeutic dimensions of pilgrimage journeys. Over the past two years, her investigative focus has narrowed to the historical and contemporary pilgrimages to the Western Front of World War I. During 2022–2023, she is a Fulbright Scholar at the Université de Lille and her research examines post-WWI pilgrimages to Belleau, France. She is the project director for the Yankee Division Virtual Pilgrimage, funded by New Hampshire Humanities and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, she is a member of Ruines de guerre and an affiliated researcher of the Institut de Recherches Historiques du Septentrion at the Université de Lille. Dr. Warfield is the series editor of Pilgrimage Studies.


Title: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Pilgrimage
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
book preview page numper 27
book preview page numper 28
book preview page numper 29
book preview page numper 30
book preview page numper 31
book preview page numper 32
book preview page numper 33
book preview page numper 34
book preview page numper 35
book preview page numper 36
book preview page numper 37
book preview page numper 38
book preview page numper 39
book preview page numper 40
359 pages