Pregnancy as a Rite of Passage: Liminality, Rituals & Communitas


Volume/Issue :
Volume 24
Issue 2
(12 - 2009)

Author(s) :

Arsenault-Côté, Denise, Brody, Davya, Dombeck, Therese-Mary.

Abstract :

Pregnancy, a major life transition, significantly impacts aspects of a woman’s physical, psychological and social self. Theoretical perspectives of pregnancy are compared in terms of their utility. Using the theoretical frameworks of anthropologists van Gennep and Turner pregnancy is viewed as liminal, a space between social structures. Passage through pregnancy to parenthood is explored in its social context as a rite of passage. Viewing pregnancy and birth as a liminal phase provides a valuable framework for understanding normative and non-normative pregnancy experiences. Case studies are presented, with application and analysis illustrating the experience of liminality, and its inherent rituals and communitas. Key Words: Pregnancy, rite of passage, liminality, rituals, communitas, personhood, case studies