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Fishman, G.G. (1986). American Imago. XXXIX, 1982: The Concept of Liminality in Two Tribal Rituals. May E. Ross. Pp. 133-148.. Psychoanal Q., 55:553.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XXXIX, 1982: The Concept of Liminality in Two Tribal Rituals. May E. Ross. Pp. 133-148.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:553

American Imago. XXXIX, 1982: The Concept of Liminality in Two Tribal Rituals. May E. Ross. Pp. 133-148.

George G. Fishman

Freud treated ritual as the analogue of the neurotic symptom. He viewed it as affording compromise between impulse and the prohibition against it. Ross takes no issue with Freud's hypothesis; she merely deems it incomplete. She reviews the concept of liminality, or anti-structure. Victor Turner proposed that ritual involves movement from structure to its absence as a way of re-ordering certain balances of reality, especially status inequality. Ross compares these ideas to Winnicott's transitional phenomena and points out their considerable overlap. She then describes two tribal rituals. One of them, the Naven of the Iatmul, involves various actions between the initiate, e.g., a young boy, and his maternal uncle. Sexual identities are fluidly shifted in an attempt to right two major discrepancies in the culture. The first is the submissive role of women. The second is the vulnerability to schism in patrilineal society. Ross illustrates how the liminality of this ritual addresses both of these foci of societal tension.


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Article Citation

Fishman, G.G. (1986). American Imago. XXXIX, 1982. Psychoanal. Q., 55:553

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.