Theory: Liminality

Liminality is an anthropological term that describes the state somebody is in when they are in between two social structures. The concept of Liminality derived from Arnold van Genneps research on human behaviour, linked to ritual ceremonies, that marks an important threshold in a human life. The findings he made showed that the rituals were, in essence, universal with very few differences from culture to culture. Anthropologist, Victor Turner, later extended van Genneps analysis on the subject.

Inbetween two structures:

Structure    –    Liminality   –     Structure


Separated from the everyday life, entering the liminal zone
and being reincorporated with the social structure again.

Diagram based on Arnold van Gennep’s thoughts


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