1

Liminality (from the Latin Limen, meaning threshold) is a technical term deployed in Anthropology describing the ambiguity and disorientation which occurs in rites of passage from an 'earlier' life to a 'later' life; (commnon ones being marriage and adolescence).

It has been deployed more widely to describe political and cultural change; and

during liminal periods of all kinds, social hierarchies may be reversed or temporarily dissolved, continuity of tradition may become uncertain, and future outcomes once taken for granted may be thrown into doubt.[4] The dissolution of order during liminality creates a fluid, malleable situation that enables new institutions and customs to become established.

Can one, then thus characterise Post-Modernity as a liminal phenomena? For the failure of grand-narratives or the master-signifier means continuity of tradition becomes uncertain (Arendt also notes this break in European Philosophy as dating from Nietzsche) but it seems that this designation can only be awarded in hindsight.

  • Is Hanna Arendt being posited as a post modern philosopher? – ben rudgers Sep 2 '14 at 11:19
  • No, but perhaps as a pre-post-modern philosopher. – Mozibur Ullah Sep 2 '14 at 11:57
  • Alas a missed opportunity to call Hanna Arendt a 'liminal post-modern philosopher'. Wasn't Duns Scotus also pre-post modern - even if not quite so liminal? And from whence comes the quote upon which the technical use of 'liminal' is stretched so as to create the conundrum? – ben rudgers Sep 2 '14 at 14:28
  • I know nothing about Scotus - was he living in liminal times? Surely one can say he's not just pre-post-modern, but pre-modern; the quote apparently is from Bjorn Thomasson - The uses & meaning of liminality; there are whole disciplines called political anthropology and philosophical anthropology taking off from Scheler; one might posit Arendt as one or indeed both. – Mozibur Ullah Sep 2 '14 at 15:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.