Pilgrimage Practices: The embodied
mobilities of pilgrims and the nonrepresentational.
In this paper, I will introduce a new
research project concerned with the embodied mobilities of (mainly) religious
pilgrims in contemporary Ireland and the practices which intertwine them with
sacred places in a process which (re)creates and continually shapes both.
Pilgrimage is understood as a corporeal enactment of beliefs that occurs in
specific places. The practice and mobilities of pilgrimage can be seen as a
process involving the pilgrims and the landscape being defined by and, even,
emerging through their interactions with each other. In theoretical and methodological terms,
I am eager to integrate developments in the geographies of mobilities and
elements of nonrepresentational geographies. These two related, yet rather
distinct fields of study offer much potential when considered together, but
equally present some challenges. In particular, my work will have to find a
clear way to combine differing conceptions and treatments of embodiment and
body-landscape relations, particularly concerning the representational
(objectification in symbols, images and structures) and the nonrepresentational
(embodied experiences, beliefs and the sensual). This research process aims to
further debates in these areas in the development of a coherent, unified approach.