Turners Chapter 2 Summary

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Turner chptr 2 Turner's rituals are the role played by liminality, structure, and communitas. Ritual serves, for Turner, the function of balancing structure and communitas. The individuals participating in the rituals are, temporarily, outside of the normal social structure, and thus, are in a liminal state. The initiate is first stripped of the social status that he or she possessed before the ritual, inducted into the liminal period of transition, and finally given his or her new status and reassimilated into society. He focuses entirely on the middle stage of rites of passage—the transitional or liminal stage. He notes, “The subject of passage ritual is, in the liminal period, structurally, if not physically, ‘invisible’”. That is, the status of liminal individuals is socially and structurally ambiguous. He develops this idea further in a concise definition of liminality that will inform his future writings: “Liminality may perhaps be regarded as the Nay to all positive structural assertions, but as in some sense the source of them all, and, more than that, as a realm of pure possibility whence novel configurations of ideas and relations may arise”. Turner also points out, that liminal individuals are polluting, and thus dangerous, to those who have not gone through the liminal period. In addition, liminal individuals have nothing: “no status, insignia, secular clothing, rank, kinship position, nothing to demarcate them structurally from their fellows”. The group of liminal individuals is not a typical social hierarchy but a communal group in which all are equal. In “Liminality and Communitas,” Turner begins by defining liminal individuals or entities as “neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and ceremony”. He then goes on to name the non-structure or anti-structure that he…...

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