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Cyberkurds and Cyberkinetics
Pilgrimage in an Age of Virtual Mobility
Shailoh Phillips

In this exploration, I pose that the Internet activity of diasporic Kurds can be understood in terms of a cyberkinetic pilgrimage. Using the Issue Crawler to chart this virtual realm indicates that an online Kurdish issue network connects people with vastly differing opinions, from multiple locations, but with a strong geographical anchorage in Europe. ‘Eurokurds’ active in cyberspace are organized around issues: primarily a quest for Kurdistan, a journey that partly shapes its own destination. The Kurdish issue network also facilitates interlinkage between groups such as the Kurds and the Yezedi, who are generally segregated in offline settings. Virtual mobility however does not render physical events obsolete. Instead, online activity facilitates and encourages offline organization and cultivates a Kurdish diasporic awareness. (back)


Walking Middle Passage History in Reverse
Interfaith Pilgrimage, Virtual Communitas and World-Recathexis
Peter Sutherland

This essay uses the yearlong, transatlantic, Afro-Buddhist, ‘Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage’ performed in 1998-9 by a transnational Japanese Buddhist peace project, the Nipponzan Myohoji order, to reassess Victor Turner’s classic concept of ‘communitas’ under current conditions of global cultural reterritorialization. In describing the pilgrims’ goal of healing the legacy of slavery, racism, by walking Atlantic history in reverse, I attempt to understand the ironic outbreak of racism among the pilgrims. In doing so, I ask how the ­pilgrims’ use of hybrid ritual practices and a website to broadcast reports from the road complicates Turner’s straightforward vision of communitas as a monocultural phenomenon and a face-to-face experience. (back)

Pilgrimage in Mediaspace
Continuities and Transformations
Nick Couldry

The concept of pilgrimage has a contested history, but this article argues that the Turnerian notion of pilgrimage as a compulsory journey to a focus of shared values remains of fundamental relevance, and is directly applicable to the range of journeys people now make to locations associated with media. After introducing the concept of ‘media pilgrimage’, the article discusses various challenges: first, from the argument that relatively banal journeys to media locations cannot possibly be compared to the intensity of religious pilgrimage; second, from the complexities of making the concept of ‘media pilgrimage’ work in transcultural comparison; and thirdly, from the difficulties of understanding what would continue ‘pilgrimage’ in the online environment of digital media. The article concludes the concept of media pilgrimage remains a useful one, even if its future boundaries are right now particularly uncertain.(back)

Emotive Movement on the Road to Santiago de Compostela
Mexican Futurities Evoked by Past and Present Power Mongers
Janneke Peelen and Willy Jansen

This article focuses on the emotions pilgrims experience on the road to Santiago de Compostela in the northwest of Spain. An increasing number of pilgrims take the road ( el camino ) to Santiago, but for many of them the movement on foot seems to be more important than reaching the tomb of St. James. The article asks what emotions pilgrims experienced, whether these were related to a quest for healing and given a spiritual or religious meaning, and if so how. Moreover, it asks what role bodily movement played in evoking these emotions. As well as through interviewing pilgrims, material was gathered through participant observation and experiencing the impact of ritual movement by walking the pilgrims’ route together with the pilgrims. We argue that the current revived interest for walking el camino cannot be explained without understanding the spiritual and healing effects it can have for pilgrims. Through our focus on emotions, we want to contribute to the anthropological debate on the often-ignored importance of bodily movement in religious rituals. (back)