Extracted passages from journals about Liminality Vol. 3

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

Extracted passages from journals about Liminality Vol. 2

The intelligent body ceases to be: intelligence and bodilyness are sundered, unable to ground or defend each other or themselves.

Antistructure is constituted by liminality and communitas.

Seeing structural invisibility as an important aspect of liminality makes clear why victims of ethnocentric racism are never seen as liminal subjects.

Structure/Antistructure and Agency Under Oppression | Author(s): Maria C. Lugones | Published by: The Journal of Philosophy | Oct., 1990


Liminality is both more creative and more destructive than the structural norm.

As well as the betwixt-and-between state of liminality there is the state of outsiderhood, referring to the condition of being either permanently and by ascription set outside the structural arrangements of any given system, or being situationally or temporally set apart, or voluntarily setting oneself apart from the behavior of status-occupying, role-playing members of that system.

Such outsiders would include, in various cultures, shamans, diviners, medi ums, priests, those in monastic seclusion, hippies, hoboes, and gypsies. They should be distinguished from “marginals,” who are simultaneously (by ascription, optation, self-definition, or achievement) of two or more groups whose social definitions and cultural norms are distinct from, and often even opposed to, one another.

These would include migrant foreigners, second generation Americans, persons of mixed ethnic origin, parvenus (upwardly mobile marginals), migrants from country to city, and women in a changed, nontraditional role.

What is interesting about such marginals is that they often look to their group of origin, the so-called inferior group, for communitas, and to the more prestigious group in which they mainly live and in which they aspire to higher status as their structural reference group.

Sometimes they become the radical critics of structure from the perspective of communitas, sometimes they tend to deny the affectionally warmer and more egalitarian bond of communitas…. Marginals like liminars are also betwixt and between, but unlike ritual liminars they have no cultural assurance of a final stable resolution of their ambiguity.

From Limen to Border: A Meditation on the Legacy of Victor Turner for American Cultural Studies | Author(s): Donald Weber | Published by: American Quarterly | Sep., 1995

Extracted passages from journals about Liminality Vol. 1

From the child’s point of view, games are not simply part of life; rather, all life is a game.

The perception of the world of a child at play is double… He inhabits a world in which “reality” and “unreality” coexist. …. a child’s world is closely connected with [the concepts of] “passion,” “imagination,” “dreams.” Its links with the unconscious are many, and it should perhaps be interpreted in the same way as mythology and archaic mentality.

Folk Culture and the Liminality of Children | Author(s): Yoshiharu Iijima | Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research | Aug. – Oct., 1987


I have not attempted a historical reconstruction of the order of events in David’s return from his Trans-Jordanian exile; I am, for the purposes of this study, uninterested in what David actually did.

David’s crossing of the river in forms the transitional stage of this smaller, nested rite of passage, after which his various inter actions with his subjects-Mephibosheth, Shimei, the Judahites and Israelites-serve to reincorporate the king into the community.

… any person who considers that he has been wronged by the chief elect in the past is entitled to revile him and most fully express his resent ment, going into as much detail as he desires. The chief-elect, during all this, has to sit silently with downcast head, “the pattern of all patience” and humility … The chief may not resent any of this or hold it against the perpetrators in times to come.

The Left Bank of the Jordan and the Rites of Passage: An Anthropological Interpretation of 2 Samuel XIX | Author(s): Jeremy M. Hutton | Published by: Brill | Accessed: Oct., 2006