In recent years there has been much discussion of societal and social kinds of influence on the course of scientific ideas.
Geology is a science in which fieldwork is a central element of practice, not least because so many important geological features are not mobile.
At least in the past, geological expeditions involved a double movement from the familiar to the unfamiliar and back again – not only in terms of features seen and studied, but also in terms of separation from and reintegration into the ‘home’ scientific community.
The dynamics of this process are here compared with van Gennep’s classic concept of ‘liminality’ and with Victor Turner’s application of that concept to the process of pilgrimage.
Theoretical innovation in a field science such as geology may require, or at least be facilitated by, a pilgrimage-like process in which scientists are exposed to unfamiliar perceptual and personal inputs while temporarily insulated from their familiar scientific environment.
Geological Travel and Theoretical Innovation: The Role of ‘Liminal’ Experience | Author(s): Martin Rudwick | Published by: Social Studies of Science | Feb., 1996
The passage from one social status to another is often accompanied by a parallel passage in space, a geographical movement from one place to an- other.
Key concepts here are work, play, and leisure.
“Leisure,” then, presupposes “work”: it is a non-work, even an anti-work phase in the life of a person who also works.
The term limen itself, the Latin for “threshold”, appears to be negative in connotation, since it is no longer the positive past condition nor yet the positive articulated future condition.
Liminality, marginality, and structural inferiority are conditions in which are frequently generated myths, symbols, rituals, philosophical systems, and works of art.
LIMINAL TO LIMINOID, IN PLAY, FLOW, AND RITUAL: AN ESSAY IN COMPARATIVE SYMBOLOGY | by Victor Turner