Lecture 5



William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (1901-02) mystical states show rational consciousness as only one kind of consciousness, one way of  apprehending reality

Alfred Schutz, “Multiple Realities” (1962)

“several, probably an infinite number of orders of realities, each with its special and separate style of existence”

it is the meaning of our experiences and not the ontological structure of objects that make up reality

“the world of everyday life”
wide awake, grown up, natural attitude, practical or pragmatic, world of work standard time, standard space, fundamental anxiety
rational work-a-day consciousness is based, however, on a suspension of doubt that things might be other than they appear

suspension of doubt that things might be other than they appear, however, makes us vulnerable to the eruption of the strange that shatters the natural attitude

We are not ready to abandon our attitude toward it [i.e., the world of everyday life] without having experienced a specific shock, which compels us to break through the limits of these “finite” provinces of meaning and to shift the accent of reality to another one (Schutz 1962: 343-44).

inconsistency &  incompatibility of provinces or realms of meaning relative to each other; or, problem of several coexisting realities, i.e., religious & moral pluralism

Victor Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (1969)

ritual has a specific structure involving passage from one mode of existence to another

threefold structure of ritual
1) preliminal stage (separation)
2) liminal stage (passage)
3) postliminal stage (reincorporation)

liminality:  the crucial phase

how liminality relates to communitas

ambiguous character of the liminal phase

liminality implies there could not be a high without a low

attributes of sexlessness & anonymity highly characteristic of liminality

institutionalization of liminality most marked in monastic & mendicant states of great religions (Turner 1969: 107)

communitas as anti-structure

Dylan—hippies, beats, bohemians, & romantics

Dylan as spokesperson for “structurally inferior”: persons or groups that
1) fall in the gaps of social structure
2) are on society’s margins
3) occupy its lowest status

dialectic between communitas and structure