Essays on liminality

Some anthropologists, notably Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner, claim to have uncovered a universal structure common to a certain class of transformative rituals such as rites of passage. Such rituals aim at changing the participants, either psychically or in terms of social status. For example, via rituals, adolescents become adults, and princes become kings. This view rests on a particular analysis of change. In order to become something new, one must first abandon the old, moving through a phase which is neither new nor old; only then can one achieve, accept, or construct the new. That middle phase of transformative rituals is called the liminal phase. It is characterized as "neither here nor there," or "betwixt and between," since it occurs between a phase of ritual separation from one's previous self or status and a phase of re-aggregation during which a new persona or status is produced and legitimized by the community. At its most general, liminality is thus a fluid phase promoting change. The ritual participant is like the checker piece, temporarily lifted off the board in a different (vertical) dimension, while being moved from one square to another. Our ability to create liminal situations by means of ritual is an important cultural discovery. It allows both the control and promotion of changes deemed worthwhile by the community.

"The Fall of America in Science Fiction." In Fictional Space: Essays on Contemporary Science Fiction (see Edited Books above), 96-127.
"Learning to Read Science Fiction." In Fictional Space (see above), 1-35. [Translated into Danish by Niels Dalgaard as "At laere for at laese science fiction," Proxima 57 (1992): 18-33].; and into Swedish by Jerry Määttä in Brott, kärlek, främmande världar: Texter om populärlitteratur ("Crime, Love, and Strange [New] Worlds: Texts on Popular Fiction"), ed. Jerry Määttä and Dag Hedman (Lund: Studentlitteratur), forthcoming 2014.]"

Adventure tourism brings people to journey distant, foreign, novel and exotic places (Hill, 1995; Jensen, 1985) which includes the liminal spaces of mountaintops, tropical rainforest, deserts, the Artic as well as into the air and under the sea. Cockrell (1991) suggested that the traveller would feel the sense of risk, excitement or danger while involved in activities such as rock climbing, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, sky diving, parachuting and backpacking (Ewert and Hollenhort, 1989). The sense of risk and danger intensifies the adrenaline rush provoking alertness, giving the feeling of being 'quintessentially alive' as opposed to the highly predictable daily routines.(Gyimothy and Mykletun, 2004) which supports Wright's (1995) statement suggesting that people breaks the boredom of life and increase novelty of life through participations in adventure tourism. The extreme conditions in the Artic is the perfect 'play-zone' for those in seek for liminoid as the wilderness settings creates the feel of being 'out of this world' (Viken, 1995; Jacobsen, 1997) which is deceptive, strange, and game-like (Kristeva 1984) giving high arousal of pleasure and anxiety.

Essays on liminality

essays on liminality


essays on liminalityessays on liminalityessays on liminalityessays on liminality