Re: rites of passage
16 Jul 1996 18:04:29 GMT

>I have a theoretical question to pose. Can an event be called a rite of
>passage if it is not a ceremonial, public event? This event successfully
>transfers the participants from one status to another; it has essential
>components that, when the component is altered change the native's
>feeling toward the event (Most of them say something like "It wasn't a
>real **the event**"). The event does involve ritualized pain as well.
>I'm writing my senior ethnography (undergraduate) on this topic and I
>want to know if I've muddled my theory. (I'm assuming that this event is
>a rite of passge).

Don't you think that there is a greater spectrum to this classification? Rights of passage
also include things like baptisms, getting a drivers license or Job and loss of virginity. I
think it is the Hopi? who restrict the young boy to the kiva for a year for training to
prepare for manhood... Informal rites of passage also occure I believe. In the family where
the son/daughter are responsible for a pregnancey outside of marraige (in the conservative
community at least) I think this establishes some status beyond the child classification
regardles of the social acceptance. I agree that in many cases the passage is public and
sometimes includes some requirement to withstand pain but that doesn't cover all bases.

Sounds like you have an awful broad field to choose from here. If you define your thesis as
you have said I think you might run into problems. Maybe a narrower focus on that particular
type of rite or on a particular populations application of such rites.