Turners Liminal Period

I think that Turners work on the liminal period of an individual undergoing a particular rite-de-passage is an interesting read and certainly very informative. His focus on the period between separation and aggregation, spoken of initially by Van Gennep, certainly helps us gain a more detailed understanding of the liminal phase and specific characteristics of it. That individuals are somehow interstructurally situated, or structurally invisible, for a time within this transitional period of transformation and change is a concept that Turner makes easily comparatively understandable, especially considering the cultural complexity that surrounds the process. That it is somehow important for individuals to be brought down to nothing, or to a neutral level before they can grow and brought back, or returned in this case, to a different level or state.


The symobilsm, which ‘give and outward and visible form to an inward and conceptual process’ I found interesting, thought perhaps Turners weakest point of his work. He highlights ‘three problems’ associated with the communication of sacra, having previously identified the interpretations to be complex and difficult. It is possible here to identify that Turner has a problem with the difficulty in interpreting the ‘exhibitions’ and the associated symbolism. Turner continues to identify certain features of ‘what is shown’ such as the disproportion, their monstrousness and the mystery of the exhibitions and attempts to interpret their meaning himself. It would most probably have been made clearer and the complexities made simpler through investigation rather than personal gesticulation and interpretation. Though his explanations of some points are somewhat persuasive and  understandable, they are still his ideas. Furthermore, Turner states that ‘the man lion monster also encourages the observer to think about lions, their habits, qualities, metamorphical properties, religious significant and so on’. I am not convinced that these are necessarily the thoughts that such an image would provoke. Perhaps for himself, but certainly not a process of questioning that would occur to all.


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