Turnerian rebel. Uncovering the anthropologist Victor Turner's liminality in modern performance

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Monks, Laura
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BA (Hons) in Film, Literature and Drama
Dublin Business School
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This thesis shall utilize the anthropological studies of Victor Turner to focus on the capacity for an individual, or Turnerian Rebel, to induce ambiguous, and thus possibly revolutionary, symbolic exchange on the musical and theatrical stage. Many Western twentieth century cultural theorists, including Jean Baudrillard, view that traditional forms of social communication have become increasingly attenuated in the light of technology, industry and capitalism. As a consequence the possibility for rebellious social drama is dampened. Through the prism of such critique the discussion will focus on the potential that remains in artistic performance. Firstly there will be an exploration of Turner’s concepts of breach, liminality and communitas, originally observed in ritual and social drama of the Nbemdu African tribe in the nineteen fifties and sixties. This will identify the dynamic nature of social structures and, through symbolic performance, the possibility for the liminal individual to ignite a change or alteration. After which works by playwright Sarah Kane and musician David Byrne shall be analysed to conceive their own rebellious liminality. Ultimately by exposing their breach of social norms, identify the capacity of the modern Turnerian Rebel to create new possibilities for their community.