Communitas pp 167-196 | Cite as

Rites of Passage: Communitas in Times of Change

  • Edith Turner
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


Communitas is closely linked to rites of passage. What we know now as communitas first came to the attention of anthropology indirectly, through the curiosity of the French folklorist Arnold van Gennep (1873–1957).1 In 1902, van Gennep wrote Les Rites de Passage, laying out the results of his research, which consisted of accounts of passage rituals from around the world celebrating an individual’s life change. These were rituals of birth, adolescence, marriage, group initiation, and death—mainly those of adolescence, the maturation of the human body. Van Gennep called the rites liminal, as in lintel. They were “doorway” rites, occurring when a person was in the middle of change, not yet settled but in between. Van Gennep found that differences in style and symbolism in the rites occurred cross-culturally.


Group Initiation Spirit Power White Bead Circumcision Ritual Passage Ritual 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Edith Turner 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edith Turner

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations