Jump to navigation Jump to search For other uses, see Liminal. The concept of liminality was first developed in the early twentieth century by folklorist Arnold van Gennep and later taken up by Victor Turner. More recently, usage of the term has broadened to describe political and cultural change as rites of passage essay examples as rites. Van Gennep, who coined the term liminality, published in 1909 his ‘Rites de Passage’, a work that explores and develops the concept of liminality in the context of rites in small-scale societies.
Van Gennep began his book by identifying the various categories of rites. This stage involves a metaphorical “death”, as the initiate is forced to leave something behind by breaking with previous practices and routines. Two characteristics are essential to these rites. First, the rite “must follow a strictly prescribed sequence, where everybody knows what to do and how”.
Second, everything must be done “under the authority of a master of ceremonies”. During this stage, the initiand is re-incorporated into society with a new identity, as a “new” being. Turner confirmed his nomenclature for ‘the three phases of passage from one culturally defined state or status to anotherpreliminal, liminal, and postliminal’. Beyond this structural template, Van Gennep also suggested four categories of rites that emerge as universal across cultures and societies. He suggested that there are four types of social rites of passage that are replicable and recognizable among many ethnographic populations. Passage of people from one status to another, initiation ceremonies in which an outsider is brought into the group.
This includes marriage and initiation ceremonies that move one from the status of an outsider to an insider. Passage from one place to another, such as moving houses, moving to a new city, etc. Passage from one situation to another: beginning university, starting a new job, and graduating high school or university. Passage of time such as New Year celebrations and birthdays. Van Gennep considered rites of initiation to be the most typical rite. To gain a better understanding of “tripartite structure” of liminal situations, one can look at a specific rite of initiation: the initiation of youngsters into adulthood, which Turner considered the most typical rite.