Religious tourists : constructing authentic experiences in late modern Hungarian catholicism
Published inJyväskylä studies in humanities
Bertalan Pusztai tarkasteli väitöskirjatutkimuksessaan uskontoturisteja, eli ryhmää, jota ei periaatteessa ole olemassakaan. Matkailijat itse eivät nimittäin pidä itseään uskontoturisteina. Akateemisen määritelmän mukaan uskontoturistit ovat matkailijoita, joilla on uskonnollisia motiiveja käyttäessään ammattimatkanjärjestäjien palveluita. Yksikään Pusztain tutkimista henkilöistä ei kuitenkaan kokenut itseään uskontoturistiksi.This study deals with the subject of religious tourists. It therefore focuses on a group created from without: for even if religious tourism exists — as many doubt — we never find anyone professing to be a religious tourist. The subjects of this study identify themselves mostly as tourists or pilgrims, but never as ‘religious tourists’. To the public mind, the subjects of this study are not pilgrims but tourists if we are talking of ‘pilgrimage’ as such, and they are not tourists but pilgrims if we are talking of ‘tourism’ as such. From an academic point of view religious tourists are group travellers with religious motives making use of the services of professional travel organisers. Understood in this way, religious tourists as a group exist; indeed they are quite numerous and are present in all world religions. However, because of the powerful concepts which lie behind the terms ‘tourist’ and ‘pilgrim’, they are rarely perceived or examined.The Hungarian religious tourist constitutes the subject of this investigation. I wish to present a ‘locality’ of contemporary Hungarian society, a pilgrim travel agency and its denizens, the travellers. This locality is both extraordinarily new, sporadically occupied (used only occasionally by individuals) and part of a multi-layered supra-national system.This study focuses on the travellers. I am interested in how they interpret the places they visit. I aim to reveal the motivations of religious tourists. I seek to explore how their perceptions change during a trip and how the physical and spiritual journeys are related to each other. I wish to analyse how participants define themselves (as pilgrims, as tourists, as both or as neither) and, to be more precise, I will attempt to reveal how the modern European believer conceives of his or her identity as pilgrim. Key areas to be explored: 1, the relationship between individual, group and faith; 2, the significance and meaning of religious tourism in the internal sense of devotion and external travel experience; 3, the function of religious tourism as a spiritual movement and as a mode of consumption for modern Western man granted the opportunity of choice; 4, where modern Western man can find and how he constructs his self-image; 5, what ‘material’ he has available for this. All in all, what is the meaning of being a pilgrim today ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
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- Väitöskirjat 
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