Revisiting the separation between sacred and profane: Boundary-work in pilgrimage experiences


  • Cova Veronique
  • Rinallo Diego


  • Sacred
  • Pilgrimages
  • Santiago de Compostella
  • Secularization

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Rinallo et al. (2013) have recently observed that interpretive consumer researchers have focused their attention on the sacralization of mundane consumption (Belk et al., 1989) outside of religious institutions and experiences, which are still theoretically and empirically underexplored. The long-neglected relationships between religion, market and consumer culture is however receiving increased theoretical attention (e.g., Mittelstaedt, 2002; Izberk-Bilgin, 2012; McAlexander et al., 2014). In this paper, we contribute to such literature with some epistemological reflections on the complex relationships between religions and markets, which we support theoretically and with empirical illustrations from an ongoing study of two Christian pilgrimages in Europe (Santiago de Compostela and Lourdes). Our reflection is based on the concept of boundary-work which brings an alternative perspective to the sacred/profane e opposition.

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