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From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play
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From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness of Play

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  89 ratings  ·  4 reviews
How is social action related to aesthetics, and anthropology to theatre? What is the meaning of such concepts as "work," "play, "liminal," and "flow"? In this highly influential book, Turner elaborates on ritual and theatre, persona and individual, role-playing and performing, taking examples from American, European, and African societies for a greater understanding of cul ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published July 1st 2001 by PAJ Publications (first published June 1st 1982)
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I had no prior knowledge of anthropology, and virtually none of performance studies either. This books make a startlingly compelling introduction to both fields, being very readable and yet fascinatingly deep. Turner must have been a lovely chap, and as his culture easily stretches across continents and epochs, his prose leaps from factual account, analytical reflexions or historiographical arguments with grace and simplicity. I don't think this book was written as an introduction, but save for ...more
Turner's ideas about the role of ritual in everyday life were interesting. They seem in some ways a precursor to the performative theories of people like Judith Butler, but Turner (as a cultural anthropologist/sociologist) is less focused on the construction and performance of individual identities and more interested in how theatrical rituals construct communities in "tribal or agrarian societies" with liminal rituals--rituals which are important in constituting a community and which are centra ...more
John Carter McKnight
Some fascinating and provocative ideas, particularly his concept of "social drama" as a core narrative manifested in forms ranging from Greek tragedy to the litigation process.

Unfortunately, this little book is a brutal, jargon-filled read, a collection of essays only loosely connected and edited together. It's also deeply rooted in 1970s academic and cultural debates that are difficult to follow for readers not well grounded in the bitter mess of the discipline of anthropology in that era. The
liminal liminoid social drama -> stage drama etc. I was introduced to this book by Ricardo Dominguez. Has a lot of intresting ideas about performance. This is one to keep on the shelf as a reference.
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