Liminality

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Turner, 1969[edit]

The attributes of liminality or of liminal personae (’threshold people’) are necessarily ambiguous, since this condition and these persons elude or slip through the networks of classifications that normally locate states and positions in cultural space. Liminal entities are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention, and ceremonial. ... [T]heir ambiguous and indeterminate attributes are expressed by a rich variety of symbols ... frequently likened to death, to being in the womb, to invisibility, to darkness, to bisexuality, to the wilderness, and to an eclipse of the sun or moon. ... [M]en are released from structure ... only to return to structure revitalized by their experience ... what is certain is that no society can function adequately without this dialectic.

Turner, Victor Witter. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-structure. Chicago: Aldine. 1969:95,129

Turner, 1974[edit]

[Liminality is] a movement between fixed points and is essentially ambiguous, unsettled, and unsettling.

Turner, Victor Witter. Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society. London: Cornell University Press. 1974:274