Affectivity in the Liminal: The Relevance of Arnold van Gennep and his Life-Work

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In this paper I propose a return to the work of Arnold van Gennep, in order to briefly discuss how the terms of liminality and affectivity were always already connected. By linking the concept of liminality that van Gennep made famous to affectivity, we are actually not proposing new and alternative interpretations of what liminality is, or could be, taking it to territories distant from its place of origin, quite the contrary: we are moving the concept back to its rightful place in intellectual history and back to the core of its significance, back to the centre of human emotions trembling at the threshold. The paper contains three sections: a) liminality and affectivity in van Gennep’s life; b) liminality and affectivity as a theme in his work; c) liminality and affectivity as developed in the early reception of his work.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date10 Nov 2013
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2013
EventAffectivity and Liminality: Conceptualising the dynamics of suspended transition - Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Nov 201319 Nov 2013


WorkshopAffectivity and Liminality
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
SponsorEuropean Science Foundation

Bibliographical note

This paper was circulated to participants as discussion paper prior to a conference held in Brighton, November 2013, on Liminality and Affectivity: Dynamics of Suspended Transition (and included in an online 'research library' set up by conference organizers)


  • Affectivity
  • Transition
  • Liminality
  • Arnold van Gennep

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