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ADI Lunchtime Seminar – Liminality and the Migration Experience

ADI Lunchtime Seminar – Liminality and the Migration Experience

Event Venue:

Room C2.05, Level 2, Building C, Deakin University Burwood Campus 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC, 3125, Australia ( Map )


This paper delves into the evolving discourse surrounding liminality within the context of migration studies, drawing mainly on anthropological theories. It highlights how liminality has emerged as a significant concept in understanding the migration experience, akin to established notions such as “structure” and “practice”. Through a critical analysis of recent migration literature, the paper addresses the fragmented and inconsistent application of liminality and proposes a deeper engagement with original anthropological sources for a more nuanced understanding. The paper outlines key themes in the current discourse, including the linear interpretation of the ritual process to understand the migration passage, the debate over the role of positive versus negative liminal characteristics, and the application of the concept of permanent liminality to reflect the experience of certain migrant groups like refugees. By revisiting the works of anthropologists such as Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner I contend that these approaches oversimplify liminality as an analytical category and argue for a more dialectical and relational view. By reconsidering concepts like van Gennep’s post-liminal and Turner’s ideas of the liminal and the liminoid, the paper advocates for a more comprehensive conceptualization of liminality in migration studies. I argue that a deeper exploration of theories of thresholds can enrich our understanding of the ritualistic and transformative aspects of the migration experience, contributing to a more nuanced analysis of the complex interplay between liminality and migration processes.

Speaker Details

Dr Vince Marotta is an Associate Professor in Sociology in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University. His main research interests include social theory, multiculturalism, cultural identity, cosmopolitanism, theories of the stranger and relationality. He was also co-managing Editor of the Journal of Intercultural Studies (Routledge). His current work focuses on liminality and the Third under modernity and the relationship between silence, slowness, solitude and stillness. He has published a book on Theories of the Stranger: Debates on Cosmopolitanism, Identity and Cross-Cultural Encounters (Routledge 2017).

Additional Details

This seminar will be held in-person at Burwood (C2.05.01), but you can also join us via Zoom.

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