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Essayon Analysis of Turner and Bloch’s Differing Theories

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    Turner vs. Bloch Analysis For many cultures, rituals take part of everyday lives and provide purpose and meaning for life. Simple ceremonies such as a prayer before a meal, a Bar Mitzvah for an adolescent, or even marriage for a loving couples fill our lives with such meaning, but never receive a second thought about the depth behind such rituals. Anthropologists, Victor Turner and Maurice Bloch have both created ritual models that describe the obtainment of higher social statuses. Turner discusses ideologies about liminality and how this relates to the rites of passage for humans. Whereas, Maurice Bloch describes his ideas of rebirth and how they relate to the rituals within various cultures. According to Turner, the period of transition for humans is a fixed state within one’s culture. As Victor Turner states, “ We are presented, in such rites, with a ‘moment in and out of time,’ and in and out of secular social structure, which reveals, however fleetingly, some recognition of a generalized social bond.” (VT: 96). Thus meaning, liminality is an important concept of transition with regard for social power structures. In Turner’s model of initiation he describes rituals as being a kind of formula consisting of behaviors and relationships, which ultimately result in social change. For Turner, such rites of passage and rituals are not the core structure of life, but rather exponential opportunities within one’s life. In Turner’s analysis of the Ndembu tribe he found that a man’s transition from childhood to adulthood (Mukunda) that ritual practices are not the foundation of a boy’s adulthood, but rather a transition of possibilities and potential. In the beginning of the three step process o.

    . .liminality can be found universally across cultures. In contrast, Bloch’s ideas of religiosity and rituals can be limited on a broader spectrum. Though, such rituals may not be practiced in such formality as in others, humans must go through a period of transition (liminality) to gain any type of social change. And ultimately, social change is of high value, or even ultimate desire within many cultures. In example, within the American culture the concept of the “American Dream”. For many people within the US, the idea is to “keep up with the Jones’ “ or to even do better than our parents. For many, it is nearly impossible to gain such social change without a period of liminality. (VT: 106) This concept is the basis of colleges, and the American military. Young Americans enter this period of liminality and obtain social change through such communitas with others.

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