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Turner, "Liminality and Communitas" & Metcalf, P., and R. Huntington, Death Rituals and Life Values: Rites of Passage Reconsidered

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  1. Death thinking as a process
  2. The importance of rites as mirror of some deep needs for societies

Peter Metcalf, Richard Huntington's and Victor Turner's works are all studies of rituals and more precisely of rites of passage. As far as Peter Metcalf and Huntington's works are concerned, the study focuses on the rites linked to death for the Malagasy inhabitants; that is to say it looks for the meaning of the different actions and formalities done during and after the burials. They show that burials can be seen as a process, a passage from life to death. As far as Turner is concerned the emphasis is put on a Kenyan tribe: the Ndembu. He tries to study the process of the rites of passage and the different steps of that process. Both works show how important rituals are, in a study of the bonds in a given society. These anthropological studies try to give evidences that the rites (occasional as well as regular ones) have some social functions, the most important of which is to integrate the people in groups.

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