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The Politics and Poetics of Managing Tourism in Sacred Cities

Call for Papers for a Special Session:

The Politics and Poetics of Managing Tourism in Sacred Cities

Amos S. Ron – Ashkelon Academic College, Israel Daniel H. Olsen – Brandon University, Canada

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014

26 to 29 August 2014, at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London

Sacred cities are one of the oldest and most prevalent forms of urban organization and can be found in several cultures and locations throughout human history. Cities such as Varanasi, Lourdes, Mecca, Lalibela and Jerusalem have long attracted pilgrims, merchants, and other tourists. However, although there has been much written on sacred cities from various disciplines, such as comparative religion (e.g.
Diana Eck on Varanasi), history (e.g. Ruth Harris on Lourdes) and anthropology (e.g. Abdellah Hammoudi on Mecca), very little has been written by geographers and tourism scholars. Furthermore, in studies on sacred cities the focus has been descriptive and case study-oriented with little focus on the management of pilgrimage and other forms of tourism.

This session therefore aims to bring together a range of papers that examine sacred cities from various theoretical, methodological and practical perspectives, in different historical, cultural and geographical contexts with a focus on tourism management. Submissions can be case study oriented, comparative or conceptual, and may address, but are not be limited to, the following areas:

  • The history of sacred site management

  • Challenges, problems and solutions in management of sacred destinations

  • Modern mass tourism to ancient sacred cities

  • Modernity, technology and visiting the sacred

  • Contested spaces in sacred cities

  • Sustainable development of sacred cities

  • Commodification in sacred cities

  • The resilience of sacred cities

  • The shared characteristics of sacred cities

  • Patterns of globalization in sacred cities

  • Spatial patterns of beggars and begging in sacred cities

Abstracts (max. 250 words) should be submitted by Sunday 23 February, 2014. For more details, and to submit an abstract, please contact:

Dr. Amos S. Ron, Department of Tourism and Leisure Studies, Ashkelon Academic College, Ashkelon, Israel:

Dr. Daniel H. Olsen, Department of Geography, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada: