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Mariano Barbato
University of Münster, Center for Religion and Modernity, Robert-Koch-Straße 29, 48149 Münster, Germany
Germany
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1093-9516
Vol 30 No 3 (2021): Special Issue: The socioeconomic impact of cultural itineraries: "The Way of Saint James and Other Pilgrimage Routes”, Articles, pages 1-16
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15304/rge.30.3.7569
Submitted: 08-03-2021 Accepted: 21-07-2021 Published: 20-09-2021
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Abstract

Based on two field studies on the micro level of items which place-makers and merchants display at holy sites, an argument about the supply side of the political economy of pilgrimage is proposed. Place-makers and merchants rely on the established pilgrims’ traditions but differ concerning innovations. Place-makers are the principals of the sites and invest in innovations in order to secure the site’s long-term performance. Merchants rely on short-term purchase decisions of the pilgrims. They prefer tried and tested products and look for novelties which fits in the pattern of success. While the resilience of placemakers demonstrate the power of the supply side, the cautiousness of the merchants hints to its limits. Rome during Francis’
Jubilee of Mercy and the Bavarian Marian shrine Altötting in the years after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI are the case studies to illustrate these claims in the perspective of Marian and papal pilgrimage.

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