Re: Rites of Passage

Shannon Adams (
Thu, 15 Aug 1996 08:45:28 -0700

Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax wrote:
> Shannon Adams wrote:
> > High School graduation. Initiation into frats. Signing of divorce papers.
> > Funerals, just had to say it again ;) I guess another question is do these
> > rituals have the same kind of mystical effect (this is coming from Victor
> > Turner so don't flame me) and personal and religious affirmation of status
> > (Eliade) that seem to be essential to these events.
> > Can anyone see my biases yet ;)
> No problem with having biases and being honest about them. Just be prepared
> for testing against realities. Mysticism is a darned hard thing to put
> a finger on, I will say, but if you approach hunter/gatherer and horticultural
> societies as you might theology, you can develop a history of ideas about
> a particular society. Sorting out the threads makes life very interesting
> for the anthropologist. Have a good time! :)
> > > Regards,
> > >
> > > Joel

Maybe this isn't valid anymore;) but what I did was ask the native is it was
a mystical experience (of course using native terms etc.) Most of them
volunteered this information without my asking anyway. Isn't that the point
of ethnography? To get as much of the native's point of view as possible?
(prepare for a flame war;) I tend to have slight postmodernist leanings (OH
NO! I admitted it) so I don't think to can escape the perceptions of the
ethnographer (I guess I am a full blown postmodernist because I honestly
feeling that NOTHING is objective). But there can be some communication of
the native's perpective. And if the native sees it as a
mystical/religious/life defining experience then it is a
mystical/religious/life degining experience, right?