In this panel, possibilities to reconfigure modern Muslim pilgrimage through women’s new mobilities will be discussed. The main focus will lie on a new sense of reflecting Muslim pilgrimage in relation to globalized mobility, commercialization and processes of feminization.
The explosive growth of the Mecca pilgrimage is a distinctively Muslim contribution to globalization with far-reaching political, economic and social ramifications. Integrated into local tourism industries, Meccan, but also local pilgrimage gets absorbed by a market-driven economy and Islamic consumerism. The latter is above all served by the new urban middle -classes in many parts of the Muslim world including diaspora societies in Europe. These new Muslim middle-classes are, in turn, mainly involved in the commodification and marketization of the Hajj and the Umrah pilgrimage and certain local pilgrimage sites. Most strikingly, in some parts of Asia, and beyond, transnational labor migration, mobile entrepreneurship and new urban middle-class religiosities are highly feminized.
Taking these interlinkages between globalized mobility, commercialization as well as processes of feminization as a starting point, the panel aims at reconfiguring our understanding of modern Muslim pilgrimage through the lens of women’s new mobilities. We welcome papers with a gender perspective on topics such as moral economies, social mobility/class matters, evolving job markets for women in the Mecca pilgrimage business, or the re-framing of religious experience through transport infrastructure, consumerism and new media technologies. We also invite papers addressing the related processes of ‘moving’, ‘dwelling’ and ‘crossing’ in order to tackle the ‘rootedness’ of Muslim women’s pilgrimage experiences in various backgrounds and contexts. Finally, we will look at the long-term implications of Muslim women’s new mobilities on the refashioning of identity and multiple forms of belonging.