Frame, Flow and Reflection:
Ritual and Drama
What, at first glance, could be less close, less akin than drama
and reflection? Drama demands a stage, actors, a heightened
atmosphere, spectators, the smell of the crowd, the roar
of the greasepaint.
Reflection is at least one of the things
one does with one's solitude.
But to counter this opposi-
tion an anthropologist tends to think in terms not of solitary
but of plural reflection, or, much better, plural reflexivity,
the ways in which a group or community seeks to portray,
and then act on itself.
reflexivity takes the form of a performance.
through which a group communicates itself to itself are
not, of course, confined to talking codes: they include ges-
sculpture, and the fashioning of symbolic objects.
aredramatic, that is literally "doing" codes.
ivity is also concerned with what I have called "liminality."
This term, literally "being-on-a-threshold,"
means a state
or process which is betwixt-and-between the normal, day-
today cultural and social states and processes of getting
and spending, preserving
order, and registering
Since liminal time is not controlled by
the clock it is a time of enchantment when anything might,
even should, happen.
Another way of putting it would be
to say that the liminal in socio-cultural process is similar
to the subjunctive mood in verbs
just as mundane socio-
Reproduced by permission of the author and of the publisher from
(Madison, Wisconsin: Coda Press, Inc.,
heads (except for the last) have been added by the editor.
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies