First Call for Papers: Sacred Space, Pilgrimage,
and Tourism


RGS-IBG Annual
International Conference, London, Tuesday 26 to Friday 29 August 2014


Geographies of

Conference chair:
Wendy Larner (University of Bristol)

Session sponsored by:
of Leisure and Tourism Research Group (GLTRG) of the RGS-IBG

And convened by:
Jacky Tivers (St John’s College, Nottingham)

According to Park (1994,245), ‘one of the more
prominent geographical dimensions of religious expression is the notion of
sacred space’. Interest in this concept within human geography has
increased considerably in recent years (for instance, Hopkins et al, 2013;
Dwyer et al, 2013; Sturm, 2013; Megoran, 2013; Przybyiska, 2013; Dewsbury and
Cloke, 2009; Daniels, 2009; Holloway and Valins, 2002). Linked to the
idea of sacred space is the phenomenon of pilgrimage, which has been studied
through ‘a wide range of approaches – academic, confessional, personal and
canonical’ (Coleman and Elsner, 1995, 8), and which has also attracted the
attention of geographers (for example, Maddrell and della Dora, 2013).

Today, sacred space and pilgrimage are features of
all faiths and spiritualities, as well as being evident within the secular
realm, and are therefore important concepts to be considered in relation to
geographical understandings of places and their contexts. In addition, sacred
sites and pilgrimage routes may be re-imagined as tourism opportunities, both
by promoters and by tourists themselves. Indeed, Ron (2009,290) asserts that
pilgrimage is simply ‘a sub-type, or form, of tourism’, while Tidball (2004)
fears that it may very often show the same characteristics of ‘transience,
spectatorship, non-engagement with the local culture and moral
irresponsibility’ as tourism often does.

This session aims to investigate the co-production
of sacred space through the lens of pilgrimage/theology/spirituality/belief
systems, on the one hand, and that of tourism/leisure/promotion/visitor
behaviour, on the other, addressing practices at a range of scales –
individual, communal and commercial. Papers are invited which address
this issue of co-production specifically, as well as those that deal more
broadly with the concepts of sacred space and pilgrimage.

Abstracts of approximately 200 words should be
submitted to Jan Mosedale ( by Friday, 14th February 2014.