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date: 17 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the contemporary significance and resonances of Marian symbolism around the world. Drawing on ethnographic cases from the United States, Mexico, Cuba, England, and Papua New Guinea, it argues that Mary constitutes a ‘multi-vocal’ symbol that is well adapted to an increasingly mobile and mediated world. Marian symbolism deployed during pilgrimage is explored through various modalities of mobility: (1) flexibility of interpretation; (2) crossing borders; and (3) mitigating the effects of unwanted and traumatic movement, such as exile and refugeehood. The chapter concludes that Mary mediates between different forms of movement, and in the process contributes to the immense spatial, organizational, and ritual elasticity of Roman Catholicism.

Keywords: Symbolism, multi-vocality, pilgrimage, mobility, borders, mediation

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