Fan pilgrimage, religion, and spirituality

Authored by: Daniel H. Olsen

The Routledge Handbook of Religious and Spiritual Tourism

Print publication date:  July  2021
Online publication date:  July  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367191955
eBook ISBN: 9780429201011
Adobe ISBN:


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In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the connections between popular culture, religion, and spirituality. However, these connections have tended to be marginalized by several scholars, in part because of their tendency to “categorize some religions as normal and some as deviant” (Pike 2009: 67). As Orsi (2005: 188) puts it, within the study of religion, there are some “ways of living between heaven and earth” that should be excluded, marginalized, and given the status of the “Other”—that do not fit nicely into the more general definitions of religion, and as such, act as foils for what experts consider to be religion. This marginalization has occurred not just because of the difficulty in defining religion (Harrison 2006; Oman 2013; Neville 2018) but also in part because of the difficulty in defining what exactly constitutes “popular culture”. Indeed, popular culture is not a “thing” that can be studied (Mitchell 1995). As Storey (2006: 1) notes, the study of “popular culture” for many scholars is the study of “otherness”—where popular culture is compared and contrasted to other conceptual categories, such as “folk culture, mass culture, dominant culture, working-class culture”, as well as “high” and “avant-garde” culture.

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