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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Tourism is a characteristic component of modern global life, and is thus intertwined with religion, a similarly central component. Scholars of religion seeking to understand phenomena in which acts of travel and religions are combined need ways to think about the interactions of these two major social and historical forces. While historically the study of acts of travel and the practice of religions tended to focus on dichotomies of pilgrim/tourist and sacred/profane, contemporary scholars recognize the problematic nature of such concepts in analysis. With the rise of secularization, tourists interact with religions for their own purposes, rather than solely institutional ones. This chapter sets out the theoretical and methodological problems of the study of religions and tourism, and discusses how the prominence of leisure in Western societies drives interactions between tourists and religions, giving scholars important access points for the study of religions and cross-cultural interaction.

Keywords: leisure, pilgrimage, religion, tourism, travel

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