A Feast of liminal experiences and expressions

Stenner, Paul (2021). A Feast of liminal experiences and expressions. In: Wagoner, Brady and Zittoun, Tania eds. Experience on the Edge: Theorizing Liminality. Theory and history in the human and social sciences. Switzerland AG: Springer.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-83171-4

Abstract

This contribution is a commentary which builds upon the thesis that the worlds-within-worlds that constitute the obvious contents of human culture (play, sport, song, painting, film, theatre, ritual, prayer, pilgrimage, travel, therapy, etc.) have their source and their vocation in liminal experiences between worlds. They are provoked into becoming by the liminal experiences that they in turn serve to resolve. In this respect, cultural experiences are the source of an inventiveness that necessarily transcends personal existence, but that in transcending it, affords the realisation of its continuity. The cultural devices people active use to manage and provoke liminal experience have been called liminal affective technologies. Liminal affective technologies, including ludic, sacred and aesthetic varieties, operate with or on time in a cultural zone that is conceivable as a world-within-a-world. This contribution develops this idea using examples from the current volume, including film, child’s play, pilgrimage, art therapy, ecstatic communion and song. These function as ‘as if’ worlds-within-worlds which - having their source in liminal experiences between worlds - enable the devising of experiences that help people to make new sense of their existence during life transitions. This commentary will give particular attention to operations with or on time, and how these operations are crucial to new sense making.

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