Liminality

Stenner, Paul (2024). Liminality. In: Darbellay, Frédéric ed. Elgar Encyclopedia of Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity. Elgar Encyclopedias in the Social Sciences. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd (In Press), 323 -327.

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Abstract

Liminality is a theoretical term designating a mode of experience potentially applicable to becomings of all kinds. It connects experiences of becoming to occasions where prior limits no longer apply. Liminality can be considered a transdisciplinary concept with applicability across and beyond disciplines, and its strength is to encourage attention to situated experience of transition. The concept was introduced by Victor Turner in 1967. Turner extended the notion of the liminal introduced within the anthropological work of Arnold van Gennep in 1909. It has since been applied within many disciplines and in some contexts has acquired the status of a master concept. Liminality theory is most useful where transdisciplinarity is typically at its weakest: when dealing experientially with questions of change.

Plain Language Summary

This chapter is the entry for 'Liminality' in the ELGAR ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INTER- AND TRANSDISCIPLINARITY.
Liminality is a theoretical term. The word 'liminal' was used by Arnold van Gennep in his famous book from 1909 'The Rites of Passage'. He gave the name 'liminal rites' to the ceremonies performed during the middle phase of rites of passage. Since then the term has been used to think about 'liminal experiences' of many kinds. 'Liminal experiences' are experiences of being 'in between' worlds: neither one thing nor another. Liminality can be considered a transdisciplinary concept with applicability across and beyond disciplines, and its strength is to encourage attention to situated experience of transition.

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