Coleman, “Pilgrimage as Trope for an Anthropology of Christianity”

Coleman, Simon.  2014. Pilgrimage as Trope for an Anthropology of Christianity.  Current Anthropology.  Early online publication.

Abstract: While studies of Pentecostalism have played an important role in forming the emergent anthropology of Christianity, research on pilgrimage has had far less of an effect on this subfield. I explore some of the reasons why by looking at the “semiotics of theory” and asking what constitutes resonant anthropological model making at a particular moment in the construction of anthropology. Having provided a critical account of past theoretical and ethnographic work on Christian pilgrimage, I suggest an alternative approach, drawing in part on fieldwork carried out at the pilgrimage shrines of Walsingham, in Norfolk, England. I suggest that my approach can provide useful perspectives not only on the anthropology of Christianity but also on aspects of our understanding of ritual and religious experience more generally.