Liminality

(latin, Limen, meaning a threshold)

"The liminal state is characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy. One's sense of identity dissolves to some extent, bringing about disorientation. Liminality is a period of transition, during which your normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed, opening the way to something new." [Wikipedia]

Richard Schechner - Performance Studies and performance as action and participant observation...

Victor Turner - Ritual and theatre...

Turner was also a superb ethnographer ... ... A powerful example of his attitudes can be found in the opening paragraph of the essay “Social Dramas and Ritual Metaphors” in Victor Turner (1974) Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society. There he writes,

... ... we tend to find very frequently that it is not a theorist’s whole system which so illuminates, but his scattered ideas, his flashes of insight taken out of systemic context and applied to scattered data. Such ideas have a virtue of their own and may generate new hypotheses. They even show how scattered facts may be systematically connected! Randomly distributed through some monstrous logical system, they resemble nourishing raisins in a cellular mass of inedible dough. The intuitions, not the tissue of logic connecting them, are what tend to survive in the field experience.

McLaren (1987), talks about the notion of the physical body as being a vehicle for the acquisition of knowledge or the production of meaning. He discusses how the curriculum can set up a resistance to the body in playing this role (p.78). He uses Howard Gardener (1983) to note the lack of Western systems in accepting to bodily-kinesthetic whereas other cultures tend to not draw so sharp a distinction.



Some references


Turner, V (1974) Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society. Cornwell University Press.

Turner, V (1982) From Ritual to Theatre: The human seriousness of play. PAJ Publications.

McLaren, PL (1987) The anthropological roots of pedagogy: the teacher as liminal servant. In Anthropology and Humanism Quarterly 12(3&4). pp. 75-85.

Dening, G (1996) Performances. University of Chicago Press.

Hollis, J (2003) On the journey we call our life. Inner City Books.

Curtin, PJ (1994) 'Performance theory and education: Locating the teacher-performer in postmodern times'. Paper presented AARE.

Schechner, R (2000) Performance theory (2nd ed.) Routledge.