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Bigger, Stephen
Publisher: British Education Studies Association
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: L1, LB, HN
Crossing the threshold between childhood and adulthood in his African fieldwork inspired the anthropologist Victor Turner to unpack the significance of the “betwixt and between” state he termed liminal, applying both to the individual and to the community. Convinced that social ritual had a crucial role of changing attitudes, he applied this to western society by emphasising processes of social change, particularly where they involved ceremony, performance and carnival. He viewed this process as healing social rifts and psychic disharmony, whether expressed in religious or secular language. Extending this, he argued for the importance of social drama/performance generally as an aspect of social change, which he argued can have a therapeutic role to people and communities. For this community action he coined the term communitas within a general process of ‘anti-structure’ (that is, pressure to change structure). This article applies this analysis to education, covering both the liminality of growing up, and the fruitful chaos of learning as process, to determine the extent to which it might contribute to educational philosophy and the management of change.
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    • Cosmos: Readings in Methodology and Symbolism, edited by John Middleton, 1967, New York: Natural History Press, pp. 249-69.
    • Turner, Victor W. (1967[1962]) “Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites de Passage.” The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual.
    • Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1967. 93-111.
    • Turner, Victor W. (1969) The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Turner, Victor W. (1974a) Dramas, Fields and Metaphors Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press Turner, Victor W. (1974b) Liminal to liminoid, in play, flow, and ritual: an essay in comparative symbology, in The Anthropological Study of Human Play edited by Edward Norbeck. Houston, TX: Rice University Studies 60.3: pp. 53-92 (reprinted in Turner 1982: 20-60).
    • Turner, Victor W. (1982) From Ritual to Theatre: the Human Seriousness of Play, New York: PAJ Publications.
    • Turner, Victor W. (1988) The Anthropology of Performance New York: PAJ Publications.
    • Tylor, Sir Edward B 1871. Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion Language, Art and Custom. 2 Volumes. London: John Murray.
    • Van Gennep, Arnold (1908) The Rites of Passage, English trans 1960 by M.
    • B. Vizedom and G.L.Caffee, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul S.Bigger 16.3.2010.
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