Alternative Cultural Heterotopia and the Liminoid Body: Beyond Turner at ConFest

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83 Citations (Scopus)


This article takes issue with Victor Turner's influential, yet essentialist, category of the limen. While acknowledging Turner's continuing significance in the analysis of public events, I draw upon detailed ethnography of one of Australia's contemporary pilgrimage centres, the alternative lifestyle event ConFest, to reconfigure his project. Although ConFest may prove to be an exemplary field of liminality, as a decidedly contested and sensuous landscape, it demands re-evaluation of the implicitly consensual and non-carnal limen. I offer the concepts of alternative cultural heterotopia and liminoid embodiment, with the purpose of fashioning new directions in the study of alternative lifestyle, and other public events. Attending to contemporary pilgrimage research, spatial analysis and applying the ideas of Michel Maffesoli and Hakim Bey, this is a post-structuralist contribution to the anthropology of public events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-66
Number of pages20
JournalAustralian Journal of Anthropology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2001
Externally publishedYes


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