Reflections on pilgrims' identity, role and interplay with the pilgrimage environment

Claudia Damari, Yoel Mansfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article critically analyses the evolving concepts of the identities and roles of pilgrims as well as how their interaction with the pilgrimage environment contributes to a better understanding of the religious journey in the postmodern society. The article concludes that the predominantly theoretical paradigm framing pilgrimage as a tourism phenomenon might be limited and downplays the complexity of the pilgrims' experience nowadays. Alternatively, it proposes to explore the experience in terms of the pilgrims' evolving identity and role based on two universes. The first explores the impact of exposure to different levels of mundane dimensions in everyday life; and the second unveils the possible influences of the Ego–Alter (pilgrim–pilgrimage environment) relationship on pilgrims' identities and roles. The theoretical review and discussion on these reflections develops an alternative experiential spectrum that looks at these identities and roles. This proposed spectrum is constructed by four pilgrim typecasts stretching from the ‘traditional pilgrim’ up to and including the ‘post-postmodern’ one. This spectrum allows a better understanding of the cohabitation of different pilgrim typecasts experiencing the pilgrimage environment simultaneously but with varying levels of religious engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-222
Number of pages24
JournalCurrent Issues in Tourism
Issue number3
StatePublished - 23 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Taylor & Francis.


  • Ego–Alter relationships
  • pilgrimage environment
  • pilgrims’ identity
  • pilgrims’ role
  • pilgrims’ typecasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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