Essay on Liminality Is An Essential Element Of The Human Experience

1561 Words Nov 30th, 2016 7 Pages
Liminality Today Not much is similar across the globe in each and every human being. Hence, the few similar phenomena that do exist prove to be very important in the understanding of human beings. Liminality is such a phenomenon. First discussed and classified by Arnold van Gennep, liminality is an universal anthropological phenomenon that refers to the transition stage during a ritual. Liminality is an essential element of the human experience. However, liminality is not only confined to an individual experience, although this can also the case. Rather, liminality may also be extrapolated in order to understand the transitional changes in the political and societal landscapes as showcased by Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and the National Basketball Association. To begin with, the concept of liminality must be characterized in order to fully understand why liminality is a universal concept. Essentially, liminality refers to the period during which nothing is certain and “self-understanding and behavior are relaxed, opening the way to novelty and imagination” (Thomassen 1). The future, which may have seemed to be set in stone previously, is no longer so certain. Likewise, previous held notions and beliefs are thrown out the window. In the end, a malleable environment results from this uncertain period. Individuals undergoing liminality are neither the person they were before nor the person they will become. Rather, the individual is caught up in a transitional stage…

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