johnrae

Van Gennep’s anthropological concept of “liminality” relating to the stages in ritual rites of passage was developed for other disciplines by Victor Turner's writings in the 1960's and 1970's. Notably:

  • The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual (1967),

  • The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (1969),

  • Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors (1974).

Initially Turner focuses on the middle stage of rites of passage i.e. the transitional or liminal period. “the subject of passage ritual is, in the liminal period, structurally, if not physically, ‘invisible’” Later he defines liminal characters as “neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and ceremony”