Publication: Changing the face of Catholicism in a tourist context

In a special issue on « Tourism and transformation: negotiating metaphors, experiencing change », edited by Cyril Isnart, Sofia Sampaio and Valerio Simoni, you can find a recent paper from the MERAP-MED project:

Cyril Isnart (2014): Changing the face of Catholicism in a tourist context:
heritage care, ritual dynamics, and the rhetoric of transformation of a religious minority in Greece
Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change

In Rhodes, the capital of the Greek Dodecanese archipelago, one thousand or so Roman Catholic people are currently settled and deal with the Orthodox Church and with one million tourists during the summer. One of the principal activities of the local priest is to enhance the role played by the Catholic Church in this complicated and negotiated public life. In developing a heritage activity and adapting the liturgy to the tourists, he is also demanding recognition for the work that he is doing to change the image of this religious minority. This paper situates the Catholic community’s pragmatic programme within the tourist context of Rhodes. It provides a description of material and conceptual transformations of Catholic memories and places and of the ritual patterns used in engaging with tourists. The aim of the paper is to show how the priest and his closest staff adopt the rhetoric of tourist change and how the changing local context is paradoxically inscribed within an explicit formulation of continuity. The island of Rhodes constitutes a perfect site to reveal the local Catholic Church as part of the wider process of transformation that has taken place on the island.

Keywords: Catholicism; tourism; transformation; rituals; cultural heritage; Greece


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