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In English, Van Gennep's first sentence of his first chapter begins: In addition, all these groups break down into still smaller societies in subgroups. The population of a society belongs to multiple groups, some more important to the individual than others.


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Van Gennep uses the metaphor, "as a kind of house divided into rooms and corridors. Van Gennep further distinguishes between "the secular" and "the sacred sphere. Passage between these groups requires a ceremony , or ritual hence rite of passage. The rest of Van Gennep's book presents a description of rites of passage and an organization into types, although in the end he despairs of ever capturing them all: He refuses credit for being the first to recognize type of rites. In the work he concentrates on groups and rites individuals might normally encounter progressively: He mentions some others, such as the territorial passage, a crossing of borders into a culturally different region, such as one where a different religion prevails.

Rites of passage have three phases: In the first phase, people withdraw from their current status and prepare to move from one place or status to another. For example, the cutting of the hair for a person who has just joined the army. He or she is "cutting away" the former self: The transition liminal phase is the period between states, during which one has left one place or state but has not yet entered or joined the next.

In the third phase reaggregation or incorporation the passage is consummated [by] the ritual subject. Re-incorporation is characterized by elaborate rituals and ceremonies, like debutant balls and college graduation, and by outward symbols of new ties: Laboratory experiments have shown that severe initiations produce cognitive dissonance. Initiation rites are seen as fundamental to human growth and development as well as socialization in many African communities. These rites function by ritually marking the transition of someone to full group membership.

Initiation rites are "a natural and necessary part of a community, just as arms and legs are natural and necessary extension of the human body". These rites are linked to individual and community development. Manu Ampim identifies five stages; rite to birth, rite to adulthood, rite to marriage, rite to eldership and rite to ancestorship.

Rites of passage are diverse, and are found throughout many cultures around the world. Many western societal rituals may look like rites of passage but miss some of the important structural and functional components. However, in many Native and African-American communities, traditional rites of passage programs are conducted by community-based organizations such as Man Up Global.

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Typically the missing piece is the societal recognition and reincorporation phase. Adventure education programs, such as Outward Bound , have often been described as potential rites of passage. Pamela Cushing researched the rites of passage impact upon adolescent youth at the Canadian Outward Bound School and found the rite of passage impact was lessened by the missing reincorporation phase. In various tribal societies , entry into an age grade —generally gender-separated— unlike an age set is marked by an initiation rite , which may be the crowning of a long and complex preparation, sometimes in retreat.

I get students started with an activity about group affiliations, with these instructions: A follow-up activity also functions as pre-writing, and part of the defamiliarization process: Ask them the following questions: What first comes to your mind when I say the name of my group? What is something you have always wondered about members of my group? C To what extent have you spent significant time with members of my group? D Come up with your own questions to ask.

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Write one word paragraph in narrative form — a sustained analysis--about the implications of one of the lists you have written. It may be appropriate in areas such as technical writing. But in Freshman English, writing an auto-ethnography is a useful way to move students towards post-process objectives such as imagining audiences, and mapping inter-relationships with socio-cultural networks.

As students give shape to narratives about their relationship to culture, we use two other analytical concepts.

Female Circumcision: Rite of Passage Or Violation of Rights?

Then we emphasize rewriting Arab World English Journal www. But all students can relate to the idea that since truth-telling is risky, it may be more effective to work with allegory, and humor. Nobody wants to be told that they are living in the dark. But they can be made to see a different light through humor, and allegory. The notion of rewriting scripts can be framed as a variant of escaping mental slavery. Actors follow roles defined by a script.

Breaking away from a script—improvising--can lead to great art, but most often it is disruptive--seen as reflecting a lack of discipline or preparation on the part of the actress. The idea has been applied more broadly to psychology, interpersonal relations, or social settings.

Backgroundsofofabuse abuseor ordysfunction dysfunctionhave have aatoxic afterlife78;;to toxicafterlife to escape escape repeating this repeating this pattern, pattern, there thereisisaaneed needtotoname namethe old the script, old and script, toto and create a new create a direction new and aand direction newa new ending to this ending tonarrative. Human beings all follow scripts: Most people remain largely unconscious of those scripts, but full development as a human being or as a culture requires becoming conscious of those scripts, and then deciding which ones work for us, and which ones must be jettisoned.

Those that are counterproductive or confining must be rewritten. Students at first tend to think of an afterlife literally as life after death. But by discussing the afterlife of nuclear wastes, they grasp the concept that habits take on a life of their Arab World English Journal www. This can be personal or cultural. Kempadoo grew up near the Caribbean coast of Guayana, and spent most of her life in the Caribbean--with stays in St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada. The mixed-race status of her family and community will be familiar to anyone from the Caribbean or Latin American world.

Dreadlocks in moonlight, or in profile, is a widely circulated trope both in reggae music, and in the world of popular culture and advertisements, so I put iconic images on the screen. With the visuals at hand, it is easy even for students who have not encountered Rastas to begin to grasp what the young narrator is observing, from the safety of an upstairs window: They were slinky cats moving into the night, their bodies liquid, rolling on to one foot and then the other, cool.

They held their man-self tighter inside them, coiled, ready to spring. I gauged how much of that cool I could really get right, practiced the walk. But all that really came off was the stance—legs apart, bounce-me-nuh look p.

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Arab World English Journal www. That stance was all I could honestly imitate. But I could do it anytime I wanted to, even in a dress, and feel my man- self standing like that p. These stories encourage a dramaturgical approach to textual interpretation Pettengill, That tomgirl in a dress, looking down on the silhouetted Rastas, and imitating their wide- legged, crotch-grabbing manselves, is comic. Yet the narrator gives no indication that she wants to shed her dress.

She just wants to enjoy the liberties that young men enjoy. This is evident in that opening paragraph: I could climb trees as high as any boy. Had corns across my palms from swinging on branches. Judy had a man-self too. She could hang on for longer with her strong arms and pull herself back up p. Another study guide prompt is: Here a comparative perspective is employed: Lest there are any doubts that the narrator is suffering gender troubles, the Rastas are there to police properly gendered behavior. Along with admiring imitation, and some contempt, there is also envy.


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  • Her brother Yan is given many liberties unavailable to girls. She says, in Caribbean-inflected English: Aside from where the spanner goes, what else is he translating? On a literal level, this refers to the engine, and the traditionally masculine domain of mechanics. But on a symbolic level, this has been worded in such a way as to suggest a doubled meaning. It has a lot of moving parts. The man-self may seem attractive, but it is not easy learning to be a man. This became a theme in my class.

    Rite of passage - Wikipedia

    My female students are segregated: Auto-ethnography Stephens sit behind smoked glass in a balcony. The latter girls have learned a different set of lessons about gender, and the different kinds of power that it can endow to practitioners. Sammy is learning feminine wiles to bend men to her will. But our tomboy, having soaked up the best of available man-selves, draws a different conclusion: But students take ownership of such concepts more effectively when they see them illustrated in mediums they know—film, or music.

    A famous quote from Shakespeare serves well here: They readily acknowledge that they do not act the same at a mosque, as at a party. Every social setting requires a different script, or persona. I encourage students to look beyond the literal, to an underlying metaphorical subtext. Three study guide questions are designed to help students unpack this metaphor: Explain why this provokes such fierce resistance on the part of his daughter.

    What is the story saying, symbolically, about the expectations of our parents? This Mexican Palm of the Hand story9 shows that young people invariably try to deface the scripts of their parents, or other authorities. Giving a girl shoes for life is a cultural death sentence. To plan for a child so far ahead surely is sinful. The girl inventories the artifacts she uses to destroy the shoes—a list that is familiar to students, since they have compiled a list of artifacts Arab World English Journal www.

    Auto-ethnography Stephens in their culture.

    Has she admitted defeat? Or does she find meaning in what is like a labor of Sisyphus? Conclusion Student response to the rite of passage and coming of age material was enthusiastic. Middle Eastern students were able to use this theory to make sense of their own liminality. They are spending a great deal of time between worlds—whether through travel, or digital devices— but are being given little guidance about how they will incorporate that knowledge when they re- integrate into a conservative society.

    The cross-cultural coming of age stories also helped students to understand basic challenges of their own transition into adult identities, such as the socially constructed and performed nature of gender roles. Such curriculum, in my view, needs the support of administrators so that the students they produce will not be culturally and intellectually handicapped as they enter a global information economy.

    He is the author of On Racial Frontiers: Currently, Stephens is finishing a book project: Revisioning the Romance of Revolution in Literature and Film.

    Readings on Writing, ed. On the value of an anthropological perspective in assessing education, and specifically rites of passage as a framework for understanding the broader contribution of higher education, see Scott Auto-ethnography Stephens 3 The campaign by Florida Republicans was directed not only against the humanities, but against social science disciplines such as psychology and political science. Then anthropology became a particular target. I taught at UCO in the Fall of Quoted in book synopsis at: Scott, Weapons of the Weak: Coming of Age around the World: The circle of life.

    Processing composition in a post-process time. College Literature 29, Underlying Structures of Culture.