In Defence of the Realm : Mobility, Modernity and Community on the Camino de Santiago


Egan, Keith (2007) In Defence of the Realm : Mobility, Modernity and Community on the Camino de Santiago. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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Abstract

This study adopts phenomenological, semiotic and symbolic approaches to the study of pilgrimage, following pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago across Spain. My starting point has been to examine pilgrims’ construction of a different place, time and experiencing self, while on pilgrimage in the company of others engaging in similar projects of existential re-invigoration. This study asks whether authentic experience can be possible in a world characterised by alienation and fragmentation and what role religion can play in this instance. By combining classic notions of gift, with contemporary ideas of narrative, community and authenticity, this study tries to highlight the ways in which selves are projects under continual renewal, where the existential ground of meaning and experience is rediscovered through idioms of physical distress and comprehended through the pilgrimage space as a context for therapeutic action. The basic understanding of pilgrimage that this study employs then is that the pilgrimage site is a privileged arena for the investigation of existential power and for the exploration of more central discursive processes. These processes constitute larger contexts of meaning and belonging through the pilgrimage space for its transient inhabitants, the pilgrims. In a world and a time where belief might appear to have waned, this study asks what role suffering within a religious paradigm has for making sense of life. Notions of self and other are scrutinised in the face of real attempts by pilgrims to find people to help establish the meaningful grounds of life-projects capable of retaining momentum and direction. In the intersections between mobility, modernity and community then, are the interstices where pilgrims remake the grounds of experience, coping with loss, grief and regret. The pilgrimage is an arena for experimentation that becomes increasingly available as more institutional formations of sacred travel become backgrounded, freeing pilgrims to achieve crucial personal goals.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Mobility; Modernity; Camino de Santiago;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Anthropology
Item ID: 5210
Depositing User: IR eTheses
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2014 08:21
URI:

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