The significance of Holy Land pilgrimage for Anglican clergy : an anthropological investigation
This study aims to investigate the reactions of a group of Anglican clergy who visited the Holy land on pilgrimage in January 1995. The academic discipline is anthropological. The study employs qualitative methods of a multiple nature. Participant observation is the basis of the fieldwork. A symbolic interactionist approach forms the basis of the data analysis. A pilot study with a similar group twelve months previously laid the methodological basis for the multi-method enquiry. This was based further on my own experience over several years in leading pilgrimage parties to the Holy Land and other European pilgrimage sites. Particularly I had for twelve years led clergy parties of the sort which I accompanied in 1995. Participant observation and in-depth interviews with six main informants formed the basis of the study. Informal interviews provided further valuable data material. Further interviews afterwards at home with the main informants enabled me to gauge the ongoing impact of the pilgrimage on their lives and ministries. I review the anthropological literature on tourism, where relevant, and fully on pilgrimage. The seminal works of Victor Turner and his theories of communitas form a core discussion as the particular liminal/liminoid status of the clergy has special significance in relation to Turner's understanding of structure and anti-structure. The work of John Eade and Michael Sallnow is also central to the discussion of this thesis in their triad notion of person, place and text as underpinning the potency of the pilgrimage experience These ideas of communitas and the triad of person, place and text form substantive themes which are emically tested in the data analysis. Other themes in the data were mostly generated from the actual perceptions of the clergy pilgrims. The originality of this research is twofold. There is no previous methodological template for an ethnographic study of a group of pilgrims in any setting. As far as the Holy Land is concerned this is the first study of the impact of a pilgrimage tour there on individuals, and of clergy in particular. It also breaks new ground in being an ethnographic study of any aspect of clergy life.