Men Undertaking the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage: Exploring Religious/Spiritual Components and Life-passage Issues in the Third-age


The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage route that leads to the shrine of the apostle St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. As both a space and an activity, it has always represented an evolving reflection of religious practices and human needs. Even today, it serves these purposes, although with varying degrees of emphasis on subjective spiritualities and the needs of different groups. The focus of my doctoral research is to explore the current utilization of the Camino by a specific cohort of present-day pilgrims defined by age and gender, aiming to identify commonalities in their beliefs. My paper examines how the Camino functions as (1) a rite of passage and a site of transition, (2) holds an anthropological link through the use of ethnographic method and methodologies of movement, and (3) has elements of a psychological investigation, given that life transitions often require coping and management strategies, of which undertaking a pilgrimage is one expression. Furthermore, my doctorate investigates religious transformation and the ways in which new forms of religiosity manifest. Sociologists have recognized the third age (50-74 years old) as a transitional phase in life. By focusing on this age group, my research delves into how the Camino pilgrimage supports men navigating their life passage issues and how they interpret various aspects of their experiences through the lens of subjective religiosity. Although my thesis is framed within ritualistic and identity theories, the study employs a fieldwork methodology centered around movement, which serves as the foundation for this paper.


Russell Hoban
Student, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Auckland, New Zealand


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2024 Special Focus—Spaces, Movement, Time: Religions at Rest and in Movement



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