Accepted Paper:

Culture: A 'Playground' for Adults  
Arnaud Tagnachie (National University of Ireland)

Paper long abstract:

In the field of religion, Turner's concept of liminality has been used extensively to understand the transition phase in the rite of passage, and the experience of tourism (McCannell, 1976; Urry, 1995). These two realms of anthropology seem different in many ways, but in our societies driven by liberal and capitalistic economies, both cultural phenomena gain a quality of playfulness. Indeed, today, through its desire for self-fulfilment and freedom of choice, the individual can use and play with cultural symbols to serve his needs and goals in an intentional manner, and also to seek pleasure and instant gratification.

And interestingly, the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott gives us the methodological tools to understand what happens at a psychological and social level during any process of transition. Winnicott locates the cultural experience in play, which he defines as Transitional phenomena, a "potential space [the intermediate area of experience] between the individual and the environment". So, the transitional phenomenon must be a good-enough environment in which, as the child in play, the adult in cultural experience comes across conditions that cannot be challenged and enable him, through a transitional object or a symbol, to express, release his creative impulse which aims at the construction of the self and the acceptance of reality.

A journey towards experiencing has begun from early stage in life to man's cultural life. Thus I will try to convince my audience of the use of such a methodological framework in the fields of religion, tourism, and tradition. But I also want to show that this tool is suitable to understand any other cultural experiences. And I will try to challenge my audience in that sense.

Panel W101
Poster session