From the Camino de Santiago to English Cathedrals
Conducting Fieldwork in Sacred Spaces
Keywords:Contemporary Pilgrimage, English cathedrals, Camino de Santiago, Canterbury, Durham, Westminster, York
In this article I analyse my experiences of conducting fieldwork in four English cathedrals: Canterbury, Durham, Westminster and York. The focus will be on various challenges related to carrying out fieldwork in sacred spaces. I will also reflect on my role as a researcher and pilgrim/visitor and compare it with my previous experience of researching the Santiago pilgrimage. I explore the following: similarities and differences between conducting fieldwork on the Camino and in cathedrals; and how what I have learned in the Camino context is (or is not) transferable to the Cathedrals context. I will also reflect on how some of the practicalities of conducting fieldwork—such as the location of our workspace in the cathedral—can lead to wider understanding of several topics, for instance, what defines a sacred space, and how different sources of information interact methodologically.
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