Digital Strategies for Building Spiritual Intimacy: Families on a “Wired” Camino

Kathleen Jenkins*, Chih-Yan Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Researchers have explored the role that information and communication technologies (ICTs) play in mediating both religious practice and intergenerational family relationships. Few, however, have paid close attention to the interplay between ICTs and spiritual dimensions of intimacies. Drawing from an ethnographic case of parents and their young adult children from various countries who walk the Camino de Santiago together in northwest Spain, we examine family members’ reflexive use of ICTs in ways that enhance intimacy. Our analysis of in-depth interviews, field observations, and online travel journals illustrates how digital technologies can be disciplined and activated to reinforce intimacy constructed through the sharing of spiritual practice. In particular, we highlight family strategies to limit ICT use on pilgrimage to mark tech-free sacred time, as well as their embracing of digital technologies as ritual tools in the construction of visual narratives of shared spiritual practice. Our analysis adds a micro relational case to the larger literature on intimacies and contemporary media forces, furthering the conceptualization of media and digital technologies as an integral force in the pursuit of transcendent interpersonal experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-585
Number of pages19
JournalQualitative Sociology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Families
  • Intimacy
  • Pilgrimage
  • Reflexivity
  • Spirituality
  • Technologies


Dive into the research topics of 'Digital Strategies for Building Spiritual Intimacy: Families on a “Wired” Camino'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this