The relationship between pilgrimage and tourism is analyzed in this paper, based on field data collected at the religious shrine of Bom Jesus da Lapa, in Brazil. Tourism and pilgrimage are understood here as categories that concentrate two meaning structures, or "ideal types" in a Weberian sense, of what the true pilgrimage or what the true tourism would be. The hypothesis is that the pilgrimage, in its idealized sense, is linked to the emotional communitas model (Victor Turner; Edith Turner), while the category of tourism takes us to the societas model (Norbert Elias), characterized by its distant view and estrangement. The religious pilgrimage then is here understood as a meta social discourse that has within it two different forms of sociability, that operate based on opposing forms of thought: the logic of the communitas according to which true society would be expressed by the fraternal ideal of communion, and the logic of the societas, according to which distinction is the fundamental rule for society’s functioning.
pilgrimage; popular Catholicism; religious tourism; shrine