In this Very Short Introduction Ian Reader explores the factors that affect how pilgrimage has changed over time, from contemporary international developments, such as mass transportation to changing social attitudes reflected in the motives of pilgrims through the ages. He demonstrates the social and international aspects of pilgrimage, showing how it has become a way of expressing social identity and cultural heritage, as well as being entwined with themes of entertainment and tourism.
Reader explores the key issues and themes of pilgrimage through history to the present, looking at its various forms, how people take part, what is learned from the journeys, and why pilgrimage remains popular in an increasingly secular age.
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