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Between Theater and Anthropology

by Victor Turner Richard Schechner

In performances by Euro-Americans, Afro-Americans, Native Americans, and Asians, Richard Schechner has examined carefully the details of performative behavior and has developed models of the performance process useful not only to persons in the arts but to anthropologists, play theorists, and others fascinated (but perhaps terrified) by the multichannel realities of the postmodern world.Schechner argues that in failing to see the structure of the whole theatrical process, anthropologists in particular have neglected close analogies between performance behavior and ritual. The way performances are created--in training, workshops, and rehearsals--is the key paradigm for social process.

Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture

by Victor Turner Edith Turner Deborah Ross

Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture is a classic work examining the theological doctrines, popular notions, and corresponding symbols and images promoting and sustaining Christian pilgrimage. The book examines two major aspects of pilgrimage practice: the significance of context, or the theological conditions giving rise to pilgrimage and the folk traditions enabling worshippers to absorb the meaning of the event; and the images and symbols embodying the experience of pilgrimage and transmitting its visions in varying ways. Retelling its own tales of "mere mortals" confronted by potent visions, such as the man Juan Diego who found redemption with the Lady of Guadalupe and the poor French shepherdess Bernadette whose encounter with the Lady at Lourdes inspired Christians across the globe, this text treats religious visions as both paradox and empowering phenomena, tying them explicitly to the times in which they occurred. Offering vivid vignettes of social history, it extends their importance beyond the realm of the religious to our own conceptions of reality. Extensively revised throughout, this edition includes a new introduction by the theologian Deborah Ross situating the book within the work of Victor and Edith Turner and among the movements of contemporary culture. She addresses the study's legacy within the discipline, especially its hermeneutical framework, which introduced a novel method of describing and interpreting pilgrimage. She also credits the Turners with cementing the link between mysticism, popular devotion, and Christian culture, as well as their recognition of the relationship between pilgrimage and the deep spiritual needs of human beings. She concludes with various critiques of the Turners' work and suggests future directions for research.

The Ritual Process

by Victor Turner

Victor Turner here examines the rituals of the Ndembu in Zambia and develops his concept of "Communitas," which he characterizes as an absolute inter-human relation beyond any form of structure. The Ritual Process has acquired the status of a small classic since first published in 1969. Turner demonstrates how the analysis of ritual behavior and symbolism may be used as a key to understanding social structure and processes. He extends Van Gennep's notion of the "liminal phase" of rites of passage to a more general level, and applies it to gain understanding of a wide range of social phenomena.

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