Liminality Stage - a Period in Life Filled with Much Confusion and Anxiety

Published: 2021-06-29 06:47:27
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Developing a stable identity is a crucial element to ones live. Through the phases we learn who we as people and our characters develop. During the developmental changes there is a phase in life that has grasped the eye of many researches and people worldwide. This stage is known as liminality, a period in life filled with much confusion and anxiety. This paper will discuss through integration of various readings what this period holds as well how the youth are perceived during this time of their lives. As Comaroff and Comaroff (2006) said “Youth stands for many things at once: for the terrors of the present, the errors of the past, the prospect of the future”. The youth is a major part of society and changes in field can render effects for a lifetime so through life this important stage needs always to be supported through experienced leaders.Turner (1967) explains liminality as the time in which a person experiences a feeling of separation from whom they are and trying to reintegrate in society as a new person. According to Turner (1969:95), “attributes of liminality or of liminal personae are necessarily ambiguous, since this condition and these persons elude or slip through the network of classifications that normally locate states and positions in cultural space”, this explains how people become absent and form a strange distance from the social world during this period of time (Turner, 1967:98). It was originally said by Turner that liminality refers to someone going through a change, being neither this nor that, and at the same time both (Turner, 1967:99). During this phase the person will hold very little or no qualities of which they were in the past nor of who they are to become. Turner describes this as ‘betwixt and between’ “the subject of passage ritual is, in the liminal period, structurally, if not physically, ‘invisible’” (1967:95) meaning that one is neither in the place they were nor have they reached their next full potential and this entire process is not being seeing by anyone else. Youth during this stage go through many feelings of not being able to conform to the society they are in as well as uncertainty of what is to come next (Turner, 1967:96). This idea passes through his reading in which Turner states “Liminality may perhaps be regarded as the Nay to all positive structural assertions, but as in some sense the source of them all and, more than that, as a realm of pure possibility whence novel configurations of ideas and relations may arise” (1967:97).In North Africa and Middle East sweeping through these areas are political and economic unrest. We find that both literally and figuratively the youth are at the forefront of the protests and debates and how youth are conceptualised needs urgent attention to be understood clearly. Heuristics about youth has certainly come a long way from the influential study of Margaret Mead who looked at “coming of age” for Samoan girls (Mead, 1928). Just as Mead other influences in the field of anthropology have conceptualised youth as this liminal transition i.e: one is no longer a child, but nor an adult and they therefore looked at the process of socialisation (Turner, 1995) it was during the early 1930’s that academics began looking at youth deviated from societal norms (Becker, 1997; Cohen, 1955)It is important for a stable character which is thought of to be someone whom has good qualities and moral this idea of a stable character is brought through stories told by elders and values thought at in school where one is told that in order to develop in adolescence they need to present a certain image so that one may continue exploration of their lives, it has been described by many academics such as Tuner and the like that this journey goes all the way into the twenties. It is a process that that is defined by many changes; a person may be moving into a new career path, moving away from their hometowns to find work or further their education but with this comes the idea of illegibility which complicates the already difficult transitioning. Because one is still finding their identity in the world they are often able to be perceived as a certain way through past experiences and these individuals are not able to create their own pathway in life. Through discussions of various case studies we will find that the opportunities to explore their surroundings and identity are not always equal for all individuals.

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