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Anthropology and Archaeology

New Pilgrim Stories

Narratives, Identities, Authenticity

by Suzanne van der Beek

Forthcoming January 2020 paper

ISBN978-1-5310-1971-6
e-ISBN978-1-5310-1972-3

Tags: Anthropology, Ritual Studies Monograph Series


The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela—the so-called Camino—has been travelled for over a century. This long history plays an important role in the significance and the continued popularity of the pilgrimage. However, the 21th century pilgrim is a significantly different figure from the medieval pilgrim. The religious and political narratives that shaped the Camino in earlier centuries have only a limited influence on the way in which the Camino pilgrim understand the ritual today. Contemporary pilgrims have only a limited knowledge of and interest in these traditional narratives and instead look towards a different set of stories to inform them about the journey, ranging from bestselling novels and Hollywood movies to personal blogs and social media platforms. This book proposes to investigate how these new stories, both online and offline, shape the contemporary pilgrim identity on the Camino de Santiago.

New Pilgrim Stories presents a discussion on some of the most prominent stories that shape the Camino today and analyzes how these stories influence the ways in which pilgrims create their own identities in the context of the 21th century Camino de Santiago.  

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