Seriousness Of Play

1799 Words8 Pages
BOOK REVIEW From Ritual to Theatre: Human Seriousness of Play (1982) FROM RITUAL TO THEATRE: THE HUMAN SERIOUSNESS OF PLAY. By Victor Turner. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1982. Victor Witter Turner (May 28, 1920 – December 18, 1983) was a British anthropologist who studied rituals and social change and was famous for developing the concept of "liminality," first introduced by Arnold van Gennep, and for coining the term "communitas." Victor Turner in his book, From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Serious ness of Play (1982), presents his personal journey of discovery from traditional anthropological studies of ritual performance to his curiosity in modern theatre, particularly experimental theatre. The purpose of…show more content…
In first essay Liminal to Liminoid, in Play, Flow, and Ritual: an essay in Comparative Symbology, Turner defines Comparative Symbology is a separate from semiotics and symbolic anthropology. Turner writes that symbology deals with symbols in concrete, historical fields of their use by men alive as they act, react, transact and interact socially. Its scope is wider than symbolic anthropology because it deals with ethnographic materials and advanced civilizations, the complex, large –scale industrial societies. For Turner symbols are involved in situations of societal change. He writes that symbols becomes associated with human interests, purposes, ends and means, aspirations and ideals. Symbols are social and cultural dynamic systems, shedding and gathering meaning over time He discusses his field work to explain the basic symbolic processes of human life in pre-industrial (liminal) and industrial (liminoid) cultures. In this process he states his agreements and disagreements with a wide range of anthropologists and other social theorists. He quotesVan Gennep’s viewpoint that liminal and liminality are derived from the Latin “limen,” which means “threshold”- selected by Van Gennep to apply “transition between”. liminality- an extended liminal phase in the initiation rites of tribal societies is frequently marked by the physical separation of the ritual subjects…show more content…
Turner argued that the liminal phase was marked by "two models of human interrelatedness, juxtaposed and alternating": structure and anti-structure (or communitas). While the ritual clearly expressed the cultural ideals of a society through ritual symbolism, the unreserved festivities of the liminal period served to break down social barriers and to join the group into an undifferentiated unity with "no status, property, insignia, secular clothing, rank, kinship position, nothing to demarcate themselves from their fellows. (pg.46, pg

More about Seriousness Of Play

Open Document