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Rites of Passage

Cultural Performance, Social Drama, And Rites Of Passage

The analytical framework for rites of passage—the parsing of the process into the stages of separation, liminality, and reaggregation—has also found its way into the analysis of cultural performance. Milton Singer proposed the theory of cultural performance, and it was adopted by anthropologists and folklorists to refer to a unit of analysis to circumscribe "[p]lays, concerts, and lectures . . . but also prayers, ritual readings and recitations, rites and ceremonies, festivals, and all those things we usually classify under religion and ritual rather than with the cultural and artistic" (Singer 1972, p. 71). This concept of cultural performance is essentially similar to what Turner calls "social drama," but it is Turner who adapted the rite of passage stages to the analysis of cultural performance. Both Turner (1990) and Singer (1972) wrote about social dramas and performances and the extension of these in technologically complex societies. These dramas share with ritual the properties of liminal events and social metacommentary. Modern social drama, says Turner, contains the components of separation, liminality, and incorporation that define a rite of passage.

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Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily & Marriage TraditionsRites of Passage - Rites Of Passage Cross-culturally, Cultural Performance, Social Drama, And Rites Of Passage