Call for Chapters: Liminality and Liminoid Spaces in Events

Ian Lamond and Jonathan Moss are editing a collection of papers on the broad theme of critical event studies with a focus on liminality and liminoid spaces, for publication by Palgrave.

The aim of the edited collection is to bring together academics who, from a global and multi-disciplinary approach, are researching events and placing them within the context of Turner’s (1969, 1979) theories of Ritual, Flow, Liminality and Performance. It is the aim of this book to conceptually explore the relationship between events and Turner’s work while not avoiding a prescription of application. The breadth of this book is intended to provide an inclusive approach to a topic that is both wide-ranging and far-reaching.

Liminality was first theorised by van Gennep (1906/1960) in Rites of Passage, where he conceptualised the process and periods of time associated with those rituals. His ideas were developed further by Turner (1967, 1969, 1979) whose construal liminality was as a ‘betwixt and between time’ which individuals, groups, societies and cultures passed through as a means of change and transformation. As such, it was conceived as being anti or pre- structure, and thus a critique of Durkheim’s structural theories of society. Liminality led those involved to feel part of shared experiences which Turner called communitas; he detailed three types: spontaneous, ideographic and normative. In 1974 Turner went on to differentiated between liminal time and liminoid spaces, linking the former to pre-industrialised societies and the latter to industrialised societies; arguing that liminal time was borne of work and play being inseparable in daily life. Liminoid spaces, he suggested, occurred in societies where there were clearer demarcations of time for work and leisure.  Since then liminality has been used to research geographies of space and place (Andrews, 2009); tourism experiences (Thomassen, 2012); hospitality and leisure activities (Rowe, 2008).

As noted earlier, this call provides academics, with an interest in approaching the study of events critically, with an opportunity to explore these theories in relation to events by discussing issues such as, but not limited to;

*   To what degree are events liminal?

*   What can liminoid space tell us about event?

*   Who controls the liminal time and spaces at events?

*   How is the liminal experienced by attendees?

*   Challenging the theories of liminality, what is the relevance in the professionalised events sector?

*   Gender, sexuality and ethnicity and liminal events.

*   Events of dissent and liminality

*   Liminality and power

*   The evental and liminoid spaces

*   Sports event and liminality

If interested, we request an email expressing interest and an abstract of around 300 words (excluding references) by 15th December. Our objective for the book is to provide a space where colleagues can explore, reflect and examine the concept of event freely, challenging and contesting some of the root ideas within event studies and the idea of event across the wider social sciences. Final chapters would be between 5000 and 6000 words and not due till April next year. The books outline, which will form the basis for the forthcoming call for abstracts, is below:

Critical Event Studies (CES) is an emerging field within the study of events, one that radically problematizes the conceptualisation of event and criticality within its parent domain, as such it provides a space where the study of events encompasses disciplines as diverse as philosophy, political communications, literary studies, critical geography, cultural studies, media studies and more. CES locates ‘event’ as a core concept within the social sciences and, as such, it opens up a liminal space where the field can be discussed in new ways whilst also offering new insights within those disciplinary areas in which it can play a significant role. In this book we examine both the interest in the liminal that is occurring within CES but also reflect on the contribution CES can make within other disciplinary areas. The book will be split into two core sections: ‘The importance of liminality to adopting a critical approach to the study of events’, and; ‘The importance of event as a liminal space within the critical social sciences’. As well as papers from event scholars we are interested in contributions from academics whose work would not normally be associated with that area, but who feel the concept if event can make an important contribution to their field.


Andrews, H., (2009). Tourism as a ‘moment of being’. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 34 (2), 5-21.

Thomassen, B., (20120. Revisiting liminality: the danger of empty spaces. In: Andrews, H., Roberts, L. (Eds.), Liminal Landscapes: Travel,Experience and Spaces In-between. Routledge, London, pp. 21-35.

Rowe, S., (2008). Modern Sports; Liminal ritual or liminoid leisure? In G. St. John (ed). Victor Turner and Contemporary Cultural Performance. Berghan Books, pp.127-149.

Turner, V.W., (1967). The Forest of Symbols, Aspects of Ndembu Ritual. Cornell University Press, New York.

Turner, V.W., (1969). The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-structure. Cornell University Press, New York.

Turner, V.W., (1979). Liminal to liminoid, in play, flow, and ritual: An essay in comparative symbology. Rice University Studies.

van Gennep, A., (1960). The Rites of Passage. Chicago University Press, Chicago.



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