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Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World: New Itineraries into the Sacred

Edited by Peter Jan Margry
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 364
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  • Book Info
    Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World
    Book Description:

    The modern pilgrimage - to sites ranging from Elvis's Graceland to the Vietnam veterans' annual Ride to the Wall to Jim Morrison's Paris grave - is intertwined with our existential uncertainties in the face of a rapidly changing world. In a climate that reproduces the religious quest in seemingly secular places, it is no longer clear exactly what the term pilgrimage infers - and this unique glimpse at the modern spiritual journeys critiques our notions of the secular and the sacred, while commenting on the media's multiplication of images that renders the modern pilgrimage a quest without an object. Using new ethnographical and theoretical approaches, this vivid collection offers a surprising new vision on the nonsecularity of the "secular" pilgrimage. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0224-0
    Subjects: Anthropology, History, Religion, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. On the Authors
    (pp. 7-10)
  4. Map of Pilgrimage Shrines
    (pp. 11-12)
  5. Chapter 1 Secular Pilgrimage: A Contradiction in Terms?
    (pp. 13-46)
    Peter Jan Margry

    The definition of the term ‘pilgrimage’ is in need of re-evaluation. This does not imply that there have been no previous re-evaluations – quite the opposite, in fact. The phenomenon of the pilgrimage has been a focus of special attention in various areas of academic research for several decades. As a result, a broad corpus of ethnographic, comparative and analytic studies and reference books has become available, and the pilgrimage has been ‘regained,’ ‘localized,’ ‘re-invented,’ ‘contested,’ ‘deconstructed,’ ‘explored,’ ‘intersected,’ ‘reframed,’ etc. from a variety of academic perspectives.² However, the results of all these different approaches have certainly not led to...

  6. I The Political Realm

    • Chapter 2 The Anti-Mafia Movement as Religion? The Pilgrimage to Falcone’s Tree
      (pp. 49-70)
      Deborah Puccio-Den

      Immediately after the ‘Capaci massacre’ on May 23, 1992 – which cost the lives of Judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife Judge Francesca Morvillo, and three of their bodyguards – the tree planted in front of the assassinated judges’ apartment became an object of strange devotion. The citizens of Palermo spontaneously gathered in front of it and decorated it with garlands of flowers, letters, and photos. In photos of the time, we see Palermians looking at this tree – which was immediately baptizedl’Albero Falcone(‘the Falcone tree’) – in a state of rapture, gathered in a pious attitude, their hands...

    • Chapter 3 ‘I’m not religious, but Tito is a God’: Tito, Kumrovec, and the New Pilgrims
      (pp. 71-94)
      Marijana Belaj

      Kumrovec, a small village in northwestern Croatia, is a real and visible place, in part politically marked, and with its own linear history; it is not therefore a mythical space. In recent times, however, due to the presence of the statue of Josip Broz Tito and related historical objects, it has been designated a kind of sacred place, primarily by those participating in the lively celebration of theDay of Youth.

      The Day of Youth , celebrated on May 25, was a state holiday in former Yugoslavia and served officially to commemorate Tito’s birthday (although V. Dedijer, Tito’s biographer, claims...

    • Chapter 4 Patriotism and Religion: Pilgrimages to Soekarno’s Grave
      (pp. 95-120)
      Huub de Jonge

      Pilgrimages to graves are a widespread phenomenon in Indonesia. They can be observed in almost all regions and in most of the country’s cultures and religions. In Java alone, there are thousands of graves which are visited by varying numbers of pilgrims. This does not mean, however, that such pilgrimages are non-controversial. Orthodox Muslims, for example, condemn the practice, although it is very popular among less strict fellow believers with a more syncretic approach.² Among the graves that attract disproportionate numbers of visitors are those of ancestors, village founders, religious apostles, religious leaders, shamans, heroes, monarchs and secular leaders. Although...

  7. II The Musical Realm

    • Chapter 5 Rock and Roll Pilgrims: Reflections on Ritual, Religiosity, and Race at Graceland
      (pp. 123-142)
      Erika Doss

      Although Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977, he is hardly forgotten. On the twentieth anniversary of his death, more than 70,000 fans paid their respects at Graceland, Presley’s home and gravesite in Memphis, Tennessee. Eight years later, in 2005, some 10,000 fans attended Elvis Week , an annual festival organized by Elvis’s estate that culminates in a reverent all-night Candlelight Vigil at his grave. Elvis is buried in Graceland’s Meditation Gardens, along with his parents, his paternal grandparents, and his stillborn twin (Jesse Garon Presley). During the Elvis Week vigil, fans wait in line for hours (some for more...

    • Chapter 6 The Pilgrimage to Jim Morrison’s Grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery: The Social Construction of Sacred Space
      (pp. 143-172)
      Peter Jan Margry

      The paradox could hardly have been greater: Jim Morrison (1943-1971), the American rock star and poet who refused to be constrained or pushed around by anyone, has been thrust into a straightjacket more than thirty years after his death. Theespace Morrison, the area around his grave at the Parisian cemetery of Père Lachaise, had gradually evolved into a kind of sanctuary where his fans brought him to life again, as it were, and where his musicality, his lifestyle, and his poetic and philosophical legacy were evoked and propagated. But on April 15, 2004, the authorities unconditionally put a stop...

    • Chapter 7 The Apostle of Love: The Cult of Jimmy Zámbó in Post-Socialist Hungary
      (pp. 173-198)
      István Povedák

      The present study deals with Jimmy Zámbó, a Hungarian pop singer who has sharply divided public opinion, triggering unreserved adoration or absolute rejection. Jimmy Zámbó died in the early morning of 2 January, 2001. After his tragic death, fans spontaneously flocked to his house. Thanks to the Hungarian commercial media, his death became the first mass mourning event in 21st-century Hungary. Fans continue to visit his grave. In order to understand Jimmy Zámbó’s impact on people, it is necessary to outline socio-cultural developments since the 1989 regime change. After the collapse of the communist regime, the spread of Western mass...

  8. III The Sports Realm

    • Chapter 8 Pre’s Rock: Pilgrimage, Ritual, and Runners’ Traditions at the Roadside Shrine for Steve Prefontaine
      (pp. 201-238)
      Daniel Wojcik

      Located on a dangerous curved road in the east hills of Eugene, Oregon, is the roadside memorial for the long distance runner Steve Prefontaine. This site, named Pre’s Rock, has attracted athletes, fans, and pilgrims for more than thirty years. Prefontaine was tragically killed at this spot in an automobile accident on May 30, 1975, at the age of twenty-four. At the time of his death, he was the most famous runner in the United States and held every American track record from the 2,000 meters to 10,000 meters. Track fans continue to debate whether or not Prefontaine was the...

  9. IV The Realm of Life, Spirituality and Death

    • Chapter 9 Going with the Flow: Contemporary Pilgrimage in Glastonbury
      (pp. 241-280)
      Marion Bowman

      Glastonbury is undoubtedly the most multivalent pilgrimage site in Britain. It has a long history of drawing people to it (Bowman 1993), inspiring myth, speculation and (many would claim) transformation. However, while that might be said of any number of traditional pilgrimage destinations, perhaps the most striking feature of this small Somerset town is the extent to which it acts as a magnet for an ever-increasing variety of pilgrims, with varied forms of pilgrimage and multiple understandings of what pilgrimage might mean or be. Because a variety of people come to Glastonbury with assorted interests, aims and expectations, a spectrum...

    • Chapter 10 The Pilgrimage to the ‘Cancer Forest’ on the ‘Trees for Life Day’ in Flevoland
      (pp. 281-298)
      Paul Post

      It is usually misty weather as the long line of cars makes its way through the polder on the last Saturday morning in November. It is also more or less guaranteed that most of the cars are making their way to the large parking area of the closed and desolate Six Flags amusement park, near Biddinghuizen, Dronten (the Netherlands). This is where the large-scale logistics operation begins. From this parking area, where long lines of mobile toilets have been set up, 44 shuttle buses transport people to the edge of the Roggebotzand nature reserve in Flevoland, a few kilometers further...

    • Chapter 11 Sites of Memory, Sites of Sorrow: An American Veterans’ Motorcycle Pilgrimage
      (pp. 299-322)
      Jill Dubisch

      A chapel spread like a white angel’s wing across a hilltop in a wind-swept valley high in the mountains of New Mexico. A memorial shaped like a giant sundial whose shadow moves across names carved on granite plaques in Frankfort, Kentucky. Red rocks framing the pathways and waving flags of a monument among the red rocks on the Navajo reservation in Window Rock, New Mexico. A campground in Colorado where a group of bikers gathers in a circle, their faces lit by the wavering glow of candles as the sun fades behind the Rocky Mountains. A school yard in Reinell,...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 323-328)

    Since pilgrimage research has been broadened, and pilgrimage is sometimes referred to ‘simply’ as a ‘realm of competing discourses,’ and the metaphorical use of the concept has spread like wildfire, the meaning and the scope of the phenomenon of pilgrimage have become extremely hazy, both for people who visit secular locations and religious shrines and for researchers themselves. We therefore decided to narrow down the research perspective for the purposes of this volume: determining the religious aspect and the pilgrimage element in seemingly secular locations of memorialization and veneration. While the religious factor is defined broadly, as a sort of...

  11. List of Illustrations
    (pp. 329-330)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 331-358)
  13. Index
    (pp. 359-362)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 363-363)