So, I’ve been thinking and writing about Climate Camp since before the first one (in 2006). Climate Camp was many things (including a [bisexual] lek). I just wish I’d known about Victor Turner and the concept of secular pilgrimage back years ago…
Victor Turner’s (1973) classic schema, although contested, has enduring relevance here. For Turner, a pilgrim is one who separates from his/her everyday situation and enters a liminal state, where communitas with fellows is experienced and transformation anticipated; when reintegrated into the community s/he manifests a transformed state as a result of this process. What distinguishes secular pilgrims from religious pilgrims is that the latter undertake their journey as ‘an act of faith’ within an established framework, whereas the former are more focused on experiencing something magical that punctuates the normal humdrum patterns of daily life.
This experience, when the sacred manifests amid the profane, is a memorable ‘special’ moment, which, for the pilgrim, is more real and profoundly connected to identity than everyday existence
from a well-written (in, gasp, English!) article called “The Melbourne Cup: Australian identity and secular pilgrimage”
Carole M. Cusacka and Justine Digance
Sport in Society Vol. 12, No. 7, September 2009, 876–889