"In The Ritual Process, Victor Turner examines rituals of the Ndembu in Zambia and develops his now-famous concept of “Communitas.” He characterizes it as an absolute inter-human relation beyond any form of structure.
The Ritual Process has acquired the status of a small classic since these lectures were first published in 1969. Turner demonstrates how the analysis of ritual behavior and symbolism may be used as a key to understanding social structure and processes. He extends Van Gennep’s notion of the “liminal phase” of rites of passage to a more general level, and applies it to gain understanding of a wide range of social phenomena. Once thought to be the “vestigial” organs of social conservatism, rituals are now seen as arenas in which social change may emerge and be absorbed into social practice.
As Roger Abrahams writes in his foreword to the revised edition: “Turner argued from specific field data. His special eloquence resided in his ability to lay open a sub-Saharan African system of belief and practice in terms that took the reader beyond the exotic features of the group among whom he carried out his fieldwork, translating his experience into the terms of contemporary Western perceptions. Reflecting Turner’s range of intellectual interests, the book emerged as exceptional and eccentric in many ways: yet it achieved its place within the intellectual world because it so successfully synthesized continental theory with the practices of ethnographic reports.”
First published by Aldine Publishing, New York, 1969 Publisher Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1991 (Seventh printing) ISBN 0801491630 213 pages
Review (Theodore Schwartz, American Anthropologist, 1972) Review (Anthony Graham-White, Educational Theatre Journal, 1975) Review (Volker Barth, FQS, 2002, in German)
My friend Dan survives on nothing but pizza. There’s that phrase, “variety is the spice of life,” but for Dan, a 38-year-old woodworker based in Maryland, oregano is the only spice involved, because it’s the only thing that he will put on top of his pizza. The next time someone tells you to eat your vegetables, you can tell them to fuck off and enlighten them with the story of this guy.
Everyone who knows Dan wonders how he’s still alive. Beyond the fact that his diet is completely horrifying, he also has diabetes and frequently gets low blood sugar. When his blood sugar dips into the danger zone, it results in events like him blacking out on his kitchen floor in his underwear with frozen food scattered around him. There was that one time he bought a new car and then blacked out on the drive home. He swerved off the road and totaled the vehicle, but other than that isolated incident, his pizza diet seems to be working out for him. I recently spoke to Dan to hear more about how he came to subsist on gluten, tomato sauce, and cheese alone.
VICE: It’s been said that you’re the king of pizza. How did you get that reputation? Dan Janssen: I’ve been eating pizza exclusively every day of my life for the past 25 years, and I’m not just talking about a slice of pizza every day. I usually eat an entire 14” pizza, and I only eat cheese pizza. I never get sick of it. If I go to one pizza shop or another brand, it’s like eating a completely different meal.