Special Issue "Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Michael A. Di Giovine
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Anthropology and Sociology, West Chester University, 700 S High St, West Chester, PA 19383, USA
Interests: Heritage; Tourism; Pilgrimage; Spirituality; Historic preservation; UNESCO; Sustainability; Gastronomy; Popular religion; Catholicism; Italy; Cambodia; Vietnam; Ethnography; Anthropology
Dr. Mohamad Sharifi-Tehrani

Guest Editor
Department of Museum and Tourism, Faculty of Research Excellence in Art and Entrepreneurship, Art University of Isfahan, Isfahan City, Iran
Interests: Heritage; Spirituality; Cross-cultural contacts; Consumer behavior; Entrepreneurship; Quantitative and qualitative methods of research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

What is the role of faith in heritage tourism, particularly at sites with spiritual connections?

Faith refers to trust or confidence in something, often based on apprehension rather than on empirical proof, though it may frequently be perceived to be warranted (Boa 2006; Plantinga 2000) especially when it stems from an interpretation of “emergent signs” (Davis and Bowles 2003; Ness 2011; Wojcik 1997), as in the case of religion. Indeed, faith is often implied in religion, but it is also regarded as part and parcel of heritage tourism. Site managers often uncritically view heritage as a boon for the tourism industry, taking it on faith that it will contribute to destinations’ economic development (e.g., Shepherd 2013). On the other hand, visitors frequently approach secular heritage sites with certain forms of faith and reverence that mimic the spiritual, much like what occurs in places of worship but also in museums (Di Giovine and Garcia-Fuentes 2016; Recht 1999).

Although faith can bind people together (though ritual, creeds, shared worldviews and mythologies, etc.), it can also exclude those who do not share in similar values or beliefs. This is also the case for both spiritual and heritage tourism, where faith sometimes leads to tensions and political conflicts between diverse stakeholders who each may attribute different meanings or usages, or lay competing claims to the same site (Breglia 2006; Di Giovine and Garcia-Fuentes 2016; Harrison 2010; 2012; Poria and Ashworth 2009). Tension may also emerge in both religion and heritage through a clash of “authorized” discourses that marginalizes or excludes popular beliefs or understandings (Di Giovine 2015; for religion, see Badone 1990, Carroll 1992; Martin 2009; Orsi 1985; for heritage, see Di Giovine 2009; Harrison 2010; Smith 2006), playing out in the ways in which a site is experienced or managed.

What has been less examined in the literature—and what this special issue aims to address—is how faith is implicated when the same site holds different and overlapping meanings for different stakeholders. How can these conflicting aspects of the same site be effectively managed to minimize tensions among different groups of stakeholders? How does the overlapping of spirituality and heritage create unique forms and manifestations of faith? What is the role of faith when heritage sites embody spiritual values, and vice-versa? What is the role of faith in heritage tourism, particularly at sites with perceived spiritual values?

This special issue of Religions seeks contributions that will explore the above questions. It also solicits contributions on the best practices and suggestions in managing heritage attractions/sites where spiritual values and heritage values coincide or conflict. Submissions are encouraged that particularly address the ways in which faith is manifested in spite of opposing sacred and secular forces at a destination. This is indeed timely, since in secularizing and/or emerging nations, religious sites are primary recipients of so-called “heritagization” processes—the conversion of sacred sites that have outlived their usefulness into sites valued for the ways in which they connect the past to the present (Isnart and Cervales in press; Macdonald 2013; UNESCO 1994). In many cases, tourism trends, religiously motivated or otherwise, are the primary impetus for these heritagization processes (Gravari-Barbas 2018).

Thus, the concept of faith in this thematic issue can be interpreted in two ways:

  • The roles, effects, and experiences of faith by visitors and other stakeholders at heritage sites that embody opposing sacred/secular forces. This includes how faith structures meanings, representations, imaginaries, and behaviors at the site.
  • Political, economic, and social motives for heritagizing religious sites by site managers, developers, and other policy makers for touristic consumption. Preservation decisions can also be implicated here.

We are looking to compile a multidisciplinary range of papers from the social sciences, humanities and religious studies, critical tourism studies, and critical heritage studies. In the end, this issue will not only shed light on the multiple manifestations and effects of faith on spiritual heritage destinations, but will also reveal how different disciplines approach the concept of faith in the study of heritage and tourism.

Interested scholars are requested to send a title and short (100 word) abstract to either of the guest editors following the online submission instructions by March 1, 2019.

Dr. Michael A. Di Giovine
Dr. Mohamad Sharifi-Tehrani
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Faith
  • religion
  • heritage
  • tourism
  • spirituality
  • pilgrimage
  • destination management
  • sacred sites
  • historic preservation

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Role of Religious Leaders in Religious Heritage Tourism Development: The Case of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Religions 2020, 11(5), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050256 - 20 May 2020
Abstract
For centuries, people have traveled to sacred sites for multiple reasons, ranging from the performance of religious rituals to curiosity. As the numbers of visitors to religious heritage sites have increased, so has the integration of religious heritage into tourism supply offerings. There [...] Read more.
For centuries, people have traveled to sacred sites for multiple reasons, ranging from the performance of religious rituals to curiosity. As the numbers of visitors to religious heritage sites have increased, so has the integration of religious heritage into tourism supply offerings. There is a growing research agenda focusing on the growth and management of this tourism niche market. However, little research has focused on the role that religious institutions and leadership play in the development of religious heritage tourism. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of religious leaders and the impacts their decisions have on the development of religious heritage tourism through a consideration of three case studies related to recent decisions made by the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Religious Faith as Cultural Heritage at the Refuge for World Truths
Religions 2020, 11(4), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040207 - 21 Apr 2020
Abstract
Faith undergirds the Refuge for World Truths, a multireligious heritage-scape that emerged out of an old Spanish land grant adjacent to the Wild West mining and ranching town of Crestone, Colorado. Established by an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team in the late twentieth century, the [...] Read more.
Faith undergirds the Refuge for World Truths, a multireligious heritage-scape that emerged out of an old Spanish land grant adjacent to the Wild West mining and ranching town of Crestone, Colorado. Established by an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team in the late twentieth century, the Refuge’s spiritual centers were founded upon different faith commitments. Christian, [Sufi] Muslim, and Baha’i centers adhere to a monotheistic faith and claim divine revelation as the source of their presence in the Refuge. New Age, polytheistic, and nontheistic groups base their faith claim on the personal mystical revelations of “Glenn,” a local peripatetic and self-described prophet who hailed the arrival of the original couple. Two stints of ethnographic research point to the spiritual centers’ public ritual performances as both invitations to pilgrims to intensify this faith and as functional cogs in the integration and continuity of the heritage-scape’s ritual economy. Finally, the faith expressions underlying the Refuge for World Truths allow this unique locality to champion interreligious dialogue as a method for addressing diversity and negotiating potential onsite conflict on the path to peaceful mutuality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
Temporal Layers in Heritage Tourism: Christianity and Islam in an Algarvian Chapel
Religions 2020, 11(4), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040188 - 14 Apr 2020
Abstract
The worldwide expansion of cultural and heritage tourism presents several opportunities for destination development, but also poses significant challenges in terms of management. This is especially true when different, overlapping, and potentially conflicting meanings coexist in the same location, as when distinct layers [...] Read more.
The worldwide expansion of cultural and heritage tourism presents several opportunities for destination development, but also poses significant challenges in terms of management. This is especially true when different, overlapping, and potentially conflicting meanings coexist in the same location, as when distinct layers of the history of a site are unearthed by archaeology. Considering faith as confidence in the perpetuation of identities, an element common to both heritage and religion, this paper presents the results of a study of the heritagization process of a Christian chapel in Loulé (Algarve, Portugal), where traces of the city’s Islamic past were uncovered, and of the strategies implemented considering the site’s overlapping meanings. The results indicate that the embracement, rather than the suppression, of dissonant layers of significance in the heritagization of a religious site can contribute to a community’s richer sense of its enduring memory through a new dialogue with its multifaceted past and the validation of previously disregarded traces of its identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
Faith Manifest: Spiritual and Mindfulness Tourism in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Religions 2020, 11(4), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040177 - 09 Apr 2020
Abstract
From books to movies, the media is now flush with spiritual and wellness tourist-related images, films, and fiction (which are primarily produced in the West) about Southeast Asia. Combined with the positive effects of spiritual practices, greater numbers of tourists are travelling to [...] Read more.
From books to movies, the media is now flush with spiritual and wellness tourist-related images, films, and fiction (which are primarily produced in the West) about Southeast Asia. Combined with the positive effects of spiritual practices, greater numbers of tourists are travelling to Southeast Asia for mindfulness, yoga, and other spiritual pursuits. Influenced by popular mass media coverage, such as Hollywood movies and literary bestsellers like Eat Pray Love (2006) and tourism imaginaries about particular peoples and places, spiritual tourists are visiting Southeast Asia in increasing numbers. They travel to learn about and practice mindfulness, so as to recharge their batteries, achieve spiritual fulfillment, enhance their spiritual well-being, and find a true self. However, there is a notable lack of scholarly work around the nature and outcomes of spiritual tourism in the region. Owing to its Buddhist temples, cultural heritage, religious history, infrastructure, and perceived safety, Chiang Mai in Thailand, in particular, has become a major spiritual tourism destination. Based on participant observation including informal conversations, and 10 semi-structured interviews in Chiang Mai during two summers in 2016 and 2018, our research explored why Western tourists travel to Chiang Mai to engage in mindfulness practices regardless of their religious affiliation. We explored their faith in their spiritual practice in Chiang Mai. Rather than the faith implied in religion, this faith refers to trust or confidence in something. Interestingly, none of the informants identified themselves as Buddhist even though many had practiced Buddhist mindfulness for years. They had faith that mindfulness would resolve problems, such as depression and anxiety, following life events such as divorces, deaths in family, drug abuse, or at least help free them from worries. They noted that mindfulness practices were a constructive means of dealing with negative life events. This study found that the informants sought to embed mindfulness and other spiritual practices into the fabric of their everyday life. Their faith in mindfulness led them to a destination where Buddhist heritage, history, and culture are concentrated but also consumed. Whilst discussing the preliminary findings through a critical lens, the research recommends future research pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
From Attachment to a Sacred Figure to Loyalty to a Sacred Route: The Walking Pilgrimage of Arbaeen
Religions 2020, 11(3), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11030145 - 22 Mar 2020
Abstract
Around 20 million Shia pilgrims shape one of the world’s biggest pilgrimages in Iraq, called “Arbaeen,” many of whom walk long distances to Karbala city as a part of the ritual every year. Faith in Imam Hussein, who was martyred in the battle [...] Read more.
Around 20 million Shia pilgrims shape one of the world’s biggest pilgrimages in Iraq, called “Arbaeen,” many of whom walk long distances to Karbala city as a part of the ritual every year. Faith in Imam Hussein, who was martyred in the battle of Karbala in 680 CE, is central among all pilgrims in this ritual, but the main question is how do the pilgrims’ faith and psychological cognitions translate into this spiritual journey with different meanings during the Arbaeen pilgrimage? The present study aims to discover the different social and psychological reasons for pilgrims’ feelings of attachment to Imam Hussein and to the Arbaeen pilgrimage route. Through 57 semi-structured in-depth interviews with pilgrims in two phases, Arbaeen 2014 and 2019, four different perceived roles for Imam Hussein including beloved, interceding, transformative, and unifier figure were found, leading pilgrims to feel an attachment to him. The current study mainly contributes to the literature by presenting an empirical analysis of Muslims’ experiences and perceptions of Islamic theology, and their loyalty to a sacred route through attachment to a sacred figure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
Mute Sacrum. Faith and Its Relation to Heritage on Camino de Santiago
Religions 2020, 11(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11020070 - 04 Feb 2020
Abstract
The problem of recognizing the true motivations of secular pilgrims is often experienced on the Camino de Santiago. The faith of pilgrims seems to be hidden under the cover of many behaviors of contemporary pilgrims. At the same time on the Camino de [...] Read more.
The problem of recognizing the true motivations of secular pilgrims is often experienced on the Camino de Santiago. The faith of pilgrims seems to be hidden under the cover of many behaviors of contemporary pilgrims. At the same time on the Camino de Santiago, there could be observed a significant change in how the sacred is perceived by pilgrims: their experience is more related to “time” or “relation/event”, than “place”. The clue is the correct notion of religiosity, which for Thomas Aquinas was not a set of contents, but the relation to the ultimate end. In this light, the heritage can speak and manifest its message, when the relation is reestablished. With this theological background, I will try to answer the main question about the explanatory dimension of faith, its relation to the meaning of heritage and art and I will offer two proposals for the renewal of the theological approach to pilgrimage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
Who Is Interested in Developing the Way of Saint James? The Pilgrimage from Faith to Tourism
Religions 2020, 11(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010024 - 02 Jan 2020
Abstract
The Way of St. James in Spain is the main European pilgrimage route. Currently, it is a cultural, tourist, monumental, spiritual, and sports route. For this reason, the paper aims to discuss the concept of the “Polysemy of The Way”, by analysing how [...] Read more.
The Way of St. James in Spain is the main European pilgrimage route. Currently, it is a cultural, tourist, monumental, spiritual, and sports route. For this reason, the paper aims to discuss the concept of the “Polysemy of The Way”, by analysing how the new pilgrims’ motivations are creating an inclusive and complex space, which is making a shift from religious space to a multifaceted tourism reality. We study the characterisation and interaction of the new actors involved in its development, maintenance and promotion. As a result, its original “space of faith” is now a “live heritage space”, thanks to the rehabilitation of routes, monuments, and landscapes. The combination of these motivational and spatial transformations enhances the factors of post-secular pilgrimage, such as slow mobility, the liminality and the sense of community, which the same actors assume as priorities for territorial management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Following the Path That Heroes Carved into History: Space Tourism, Heritage, and Faith in the Future
Religions 2020, 11(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010023 - 02 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Human spaceflight is likely to change in character over the 21st century, shifting from a military/governmental enterprise to one that is more firmly tied to private industry, including businesses devoted to space tourism. For space tourism to become a reality, however, many obstacles [...] Read more.
Human spaceflight is likely to change in character over the 21st century, shifting from a military/governmental enterprise to one that is more firmly tied to private industry, including businesses devoted to space tourism. For space tourism to become a reality, however, many obstacles have to be overcome, particularly those in finance, technology, and medicine. Ethnographic interviews with astronauts, engineers, NASA doctors, and NewSpace workers reveal that absolute faith in the eventual human occupation of space, based in religious conviction or taking secular forms, is a common source of motivation across different populations working to promote human spaceflight. This paper examines the way faith is expressed in these different contexts and its role in developing a future where space tourism may become commonplace. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
The Role of Ontology in Religious Tourism Education—Exploring the Application of the Postmodern Cultural Paradigm in European Religious Sites
Religions 2019, 10(12), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10120649 - 26 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The cultural and spiritual repository of religion is an indispensable resource for shaping public and cultural life in a post-secular era. Although the floods of culturally intrigued ‘pilgrims’ and spiritually ‘captivated’ tourists have marked religious sites on nationwide cultural maps, religious sites have [...] Read more.
The cultural and spiritual repository of religion is an indispensable resource for shaping public and cultural life in a post-secular era. Although the floods of culturally intrigued ‘pilgrims’ and spiritually ‘captivated’ tourists have marked religious sites on nationwide cultural maps, religious sites have yet to achieve a holistic interpretative experience which will reveal the deeper meanings of ecclesiastical art. The absence of ‘holistic interpretations’ from European Christian churches, addressing the tangible and intangible (faith) aspect of Christian tradition, run the risk of undermining both the cognitive and emotive aspects of visitors. Following a thematic analysis on interpretations found at Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches in Europe, this article investigates how religious sites adapt different interpretational strategies to communicate their stories. The findings are discussed with reference to heritage practices found at religious sites expressed through two coexisting cultural ideologies: the prominent postmodern cultural paradigm, expressed through New Museology, and the religious cultural paradigm, expressing religious tradition and vision. The research concludes that the more content a denomination appears to be over the postmodern cultural paradigm of New Museology, the more likely it is to experiment with postmodern interpretative strategies. In this context, the article raises the question of whether museum theory is applicable to religious settings. The bottom line is that stakeholders’ ontological presuppositions are the catalyst of how religious history, tradition, and faith, are negotiated and presented in religious settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
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