Sunday, March 20, 2011

Turner - Liminality and Community

Turner, Victor. "Liminality and Community." From Alexander, Jeffrey C., and Steven Seidman. Culture and Society: Contemporary Debates. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

The liminal period falls between separation and aggregation in a rite of passage into community. Turner explores the cultural significance of this ambiguous period of transition.

"In liminality,the underling comes uppermost." (151) Also, the supreme authority is seen as a slave, or at least a servant (Christianity, for example.)

"The neophyte in liminality must be a tabula rasa..." (151)

Turner then turns to examine communitas - an open society which is ideally extensible to the limits of humanity, and thus differs from a structured closed society. Ex. The beat generation, followed by hippies. "Communitas is of the now; structure is rooted in the past and extends into the future through language, law, and custom..." (153)

Dialectic: " rites of passage [liminality], men are released from structure into communitas only to return to structure revitalized by their experience of communitas."

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