In a Different Place offers a richly textured account of a modern pilgrimage, combining ethnographic detail, theory, and personal reflection. Visited by thousands of pilgrims yearly, the Church of the Madonna of the Annunciation on the Aegean island of Tinos is a site where different interests--sacred and secular, local and national, personal and official--all come together. Exploring the shrine and its surrounding town, Jill Dubisch shares her insights into the intersection of social, religious, and political life in Greece. Along the way she develops the idea of pilgrimage-journeying away from home in search of the miraculous--as a metaphor for anthropological fieldwork. This highly readable work offers us the opportunity to share one anthropologist's personal and professional journey and to see in a "different place" the inadequacy of such conventional anthropological categories as theory versus data, rationality versus emotion, and the observer versus the observed.
Dubisch examines in detail the process of pilgrimage itself, its relationship to Orthodox belief and practice, the motivations and behavior of pilgrims, the relationship between religion and Greek national identity, and the gendered nature of religious roles. Seeking to evoke rather than simply describe, her book presents readers with a sense of the emotion, color, and power of pilgrimage at this Greek island shrine.
"Dubisch covers a great amount of material in a scholarly and emotionally powerful fashion. Her book is an important addition to the works of earlier female anthropologists... I only hope anthropologists do not overlook the heuristic importance of Dubisch's book, a book that will be instructive for years to come."--American Anthropologist