Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Pilgrimage and travel on Route 66: An ethnographic study of travelers and shrines
by Charest, Olivia Moira, M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2015, 92; 10004154
Abstract (Summary)

People come from all over the world to drive the Mother Road. Eight states in America and 10 foreign countries have Route 66 associations. Individuals belonging to European Route 66 associations plan to hold the first European Route 66 Festival in the summer of 2016. Why is Route 66 such an important worldwide cultural phenomenon? This thesis explores how Route 66 travel has become so popular amongst travelers from both the United States and countries around the world. This research focuses on foreign travelers’ motivations, experiences, and revelations driving the Mother Road, and views travel along Route 66 as a form of secular pilgrimage.

Pilgrimage travel on Route 66 allows an individual to transcend beyond the tourist experience and engage in events outside of their normal lives. During the journey, the traveler experiences the mythology, nostalgia, and authenticity surrounding the road and even encounters a shift in their identity. Foreign travelers adopt an “American” identity created by their experiences traveling Route 66. During the journey, the individual also engages in the communitas of Route 66 fellow travelers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vasquez, Miguel
Commitee: Downum, Christian E., Dubisch, Jill, Evans, R. Sean
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 55/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology
Keywords: Ethnography, Pilgrimage, Travel
Publication Number: 10004154
ISBN: 9781339430485
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