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Antropologicheskij forum, 2022, no. 55
“THIS, THEY SAY, IS YOUR LOCAL PLACE OF POWER”: SPIRITUAL TOURISM ON SEYDOZERО THROUGH THE EYES OF GUIDES ON THE KOLA PENINSULA
Barents Centre of the Humanities of the Kola Science Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences
European University at St Petersburg
Abstract: So-called spiritual tourism, the most important part of which is travelling to “places of power”, is a dynamically developing trend in the tourism industry. However, the market for services in this field is far from being transparently and pragmatically structured in every place. Sometimes it is consistently transformed through the creation and promotion of an easily recognisable consumer product offered by specialised entrepreneurs. Somewhere, however, this market develops using the resources of structures already present in the field that were not specifically designed for it. The purpose of this study is to analyse certain aspects of the process, which can be defined as the arrival of a new consumer where they have not been expected, where the tourism industry is defined by a long-established infrastructure. The guides who provide travel to familiar geographical locations are an important part of this infrastructure. They are faced with new tourists to whose unusual practices they have to adapt. Among other strange things, guides have to deal with the fact that their clients have a habit of attributing meanings to local objects that are unknown to the guides themselves. In other words, these “guests” bring with them something that is usually produced by the “hosts”, local people who are supposed to be privy to local knowledge. But the particular history of settlement in this region creates in the guides a sense of a lack of authentic information about the past of these places. Under these circumstances, in an attempt to create the necessary historical narratives, they enter into difficult negotiations with their clients about what kind of past the most popular spiritual tourism destination in the Murmansk region, Seidozero, should base its reputation on.
Keywords: New Age, pilgrimage, infrastructure, Murmansk region, Seidozero, anthropology of religion, spiritual tourism.
Acknowledgements: The article was made within the state assignment of the Barents Centre of the Humanities of the Kola Science Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences no. 0226-2019-0066.
To cite: Davydova A., Shtyrkov S., ‘“Eto, govoryat, vashe mestnoe mesto sily”: dukhovnyy turizm na Seydozere glazami provodnikov po Kolskomu poluostrovu’ [“This, They Say, Is Your Local Place of Power”: Spiritual Tourism on Seydozerо through the Eyes of Guides on the Kola Peninsula], Antropologicheskij forum, 2022, no. 55, pp. 257–296.
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