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Sheilas on the Move? Religion, Spirituality, and Tourism


  • Mike Grimshaw

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    • Mike Grimshaw is an Associate Professor of the School of Social & Political Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.


How might we consider the emergent field of religion and tourism and its sub-field of spiritual travel? This review article engages with two recent publications that provide a mapping of this emergent territory. Yet is mapping a critical engagement? Does discussion of what Michael Stausberg terms the “social fact” of religion and tourism suffice? The rise of the academic study of religion within the modern, secular university tends to exclude the possibilities offered by critique from theology, even if this is a theological critique aligned with critical theory and neo-Marxism. However in this review, arising out of Greenberg's identification of the limitations of the middlebrow, a secular theological critique, that keeps in the “difficult bits” is undertaken. A central question is that of how might we critically understand the rise and expansion of modern pilgrimage and the travel of modern, individualised spirituality in search of geopiety.

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