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Liminality

  • By: Kevin Hetherington
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

Liminality is a term associated with rites of passage through which a person's identity and status is transformed at different times in his or her life. First systematically studied by the anthropologist Arnold Van Gennep in the book Rites of Passage (1960), rites of passage were noted to have a three-stage structure. The first stage, separation, saw the person about to undergo the transforming rite have all previous markers of his or her identity removed. In the second stage, liminal, that person, removed from his or her community, would undergo some form of ritual ordeal or initiation ceremony before in the third phase, reaggregation, being returned to his or her community with a new identity. Such rites are often associated with the passage between key ...

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