Van Genneps' Rites of Passage and Durkheim and Turner's Theory of Communitas

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Van Gennep's "Rites of Passage", Durkheim and Turner's Theory of Communitas

I. Classify using Van Gennep's categories and point out aspects which would be of particular interest to Turner and to Chapple and Coons.

     The Mescalero girls' puberty ceremony is an example of a "Rite of
Passage," a ceremony that marks the transition of an individual from one stage of life to another (Chapple and Coons, p. 484). The ceremony marks the transition from girl to "mother of a nation" (p.252). The ritual serves as a means of establishing equilibrium after the crisis of puberty (Chapple and Coons,
p. 484). It is a method of making this transition from girl to woman easier.
I classified this
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The category "female" is related to fire, the color yellow, and the idea of being protected. "Male" is related to the poles, the color red, and the idea of being the protector.
Yellow pollen, symbolizing women, is applied to the girls early in the ceremony.
Furthermore, rather than being stripped bare, the girls are ornately decorated.
However, one may argue that they have been stripped of the attire they wore before the ceremony. According to Turner, the liminal period is one of humility, obedience, and danger. The girls do exhibit these qualities during the period of transition, particularly during the all-night dancing ordeal. I still would not interpret this as a "low" because of the blessings the girls bestow upon the community and because of the massages they receive from the
Godmothers.

      The period of incorporation has been described as phase in which ". .
. the individual begins once again his interaction with the members of his community . . ." (Chapple and Coons, p. 485). As noted earlier, the girls' interaction with the community is maintained at different points in the ritual.
However, the girls do undergo a radical change during the ceremony, culminating in their reincorporation into their communities as new individuals. The ceremony began with the males constructing a lodge and ended with the girls destroying the lodge. In the beginning, the girls gave blessings and in

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