Nieves Herrero and Sharon R. Roseman Introduce their Work on Tourism and Pilgrimages to the Edges of the World

Earlier this month we published The Tourism Imaginary and Pilgrimages to the Edges of the World, edited by Nieves Herrero and Sharon R. Roseman. In this post, the editors introduce us to their work and the inspiration behind their study of the topic.

This book is focused on the emergence of tourism imaginaries associated with six land’s ends in Europe and the Americas. We argue that the European cultural designation of continental border points with terms such as land’s end or finisterre implicitly reflects a perspective of those who lived in ‘centres’ and had the power to identify and configure the spatial identities of locations framed as peripheral. The idea of ‘land’s end’ is therefore closely associated with a marginalization that is not solely geographical but more importantly political, economic and social. The diverse locations discussed in this book are currently recognized as land’s ends tourism and pilgrimage destinations. They are associated with a powerful cultural symbolism that elaborates on the idea of the ‘edge of the earth’. The cases explored here offer a valuable comparison of how distinct land’s ends emerged as central tourism and pilgrimage sites in specific geographical and historical contexts.

The Tourism Imaginary and Pilgrimages to the Edges of the WorldThe European chapters begin with three classic ocean-edge land’s ends sites: Nieves Herrero’s chapter about Cabo Fisterra in Galicia, northwestern Spain; Charles Menzies’ dealing with Finistère in Brittany, France; and Michael Ireland’s about Land’s End in Cornwall, England. These are followed by Lawrence Taylor and Maeve Hickey’s chapter about a religious ‘pilgrimage to the edge’ in Lough Derg, a lake in County Donegal in Ireland. The next chapter is Jens Kr. Steen Jacobsen’s on another well-known, established land’s end tourism point: North Cape in Norway. The final two chapters deal with two locations in the Americas: Wayne Fife and Sharon Roseman’s chapter on Cape Spear on the island of Newfoundland on Canada’s Atlantic coast and Laura Horlent and Mónica Salemme’s chapter on Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia, Argentina.

The impetus for this book emerged out of journeys, friendships, and dwelling on and near edges. The spark came from Nieves’ research on the promotion of tourism in Fisterra, Spain in the context of a growing number of pilgrims continuing the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, Spain by walking an additional 90 kilometres to this ocean-edged ‘far-western’ Finisterre. The idea for a comparative book blossomed out of scholarly exchange visits between Nieves and contributing author Mónica Salemme, and Sharon Roseman’s annual arrivals in Spain as a researcher. Nieves and Mónica criss-crossed the Atlantic Ocean between Galicia in Spain and Patagonia in Argentina. Sharon would come to Galicia annually from Newfoundland. This led to discussions about the lure of these last-stop places, these ‘ends of the earth’. The flows of tourists making pilgrimage to the ‘furthest points’ are pervasive in the places where we and the other contributing authors both do research and live. Pervasive as well are public discourses about such pilgrimage journeys, including in tourism ads evoking the lure of the extreme. When we invited others to contribute to the book, we found the same excitement about mapping the histories of these tourism imaginaries.

Nieves Herrero and Sharon Roseman

For more information on this book, please visit the book’s listing on our website here. You might also be interested in other titles in our Tourism and Cultural Change series – new and forthcoming books include Industrial Heritage Tourism by Philip Feifan Xie, Travel, Tourism and the Moving Image by Sue Beeton and Tourist Attractions by Johan R. Edelheim.

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