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Placelore, Pilgrim Routes, Restoried Sites and Contested Spaces

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Places are meaningful locations that mark the human environment, defining its boundaries, limits, scopes, and coordinates. Their formation is often lost in history, and it can be difficult to determine their lifespan as they constantly transform and evolve. On the one hand, places determine who we are and where we belong: they manifest the traditions, values, habits, and memories that define us. On the other hand, we give life to these places, adding new layers of meaning to them, invigorating the past with individual interpretations and experiences, or contesting it by adding new stories.

The volume presents an in-depth exploration of the intricate relationship between humans and their environment, focusing on the interplay of storytelling, traditional communities, and the concept of place. It elucidates the dynamic process of placelore as a continuous intertwining of narration and experience in ongoing interaction with sites of past religious or mythical significance.

The contributors to this volume unravel an intricate web of interconnected narratives along pilgrim paths, historical landmarks of resistance and oppression, nature reserves, and long-forgotten locales. Each case study, focusing on a specific location, route, or region deemed "special" by local stakeholders, uncovers how multi-layered social, economic, political, and religious contexts and histories were inscribed into the landscape.

The volume details narrative practices by which places are made meaningful; how special places are imagined in different kinds of media; how their religious history is re-presented as cultural heritage, administered by national institutions; how some of these places become inclusive and attract new or diverse audiences while others become sources of division; and how people re-narrate themselves in relation to place.

Published: Feb 1, 2025