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British cultural anthropologist best known for his work on symbols, rituals, and rites of passage. Victor Turner was born in Glasgow, Scotland, son to Norman and Violet Turner. His father was an electrical engineer and his mother a repertory actress, who founded the Scottish National Players. In 1941, Turner was drafted into World War II, and served as a noncombatant until 1944. During his three years of service he met and married Edith Brocklesby Davis, who was serving during the war as a “land girl”. Turner returned to University College in 1946 with a new focus on anthropology. He later pursued graduate studies in anthropology at Manchester University. It was through the position that Turner started his lifelong study of the Ndembu people of Zambia.
Turner spent his career exploring rituals. As a professor at the University of Chicago in the late 1950s, Turner began to apply his study of rituals and rites of passage to world religions and the lives of religious heroes. He and his wife converted to Catholicism in 1958. Turner explored Arnold van Gennep’s threefold structure of rites of passage and expanding theories on the liminal phase. Turner was also a committed ethnographer and produced work on ritual. He and his wife Edith L. Turner died on 18 December 1983 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After his death, his widow Edith Turner embarked on her own career as an anthropologist.
She developed upon Victor’s “anthropology of experience” with a publication on communitas. Author Chuck Palahniuk was quoted in The Believer as saying, “So often what I’m doing is dramatizing the writings of Victor Turner, who wrote a lot about liminal and liminoid events. Eligible works are “published books in various genres including ethnographic monographs, narratives, essays, biographies, memoirs, poetry, and drama. The Literary Roots of Victor Turner’s Anthropology”. Victor Turner and the Construction of Cultural Criticism. Victor Turner: Symbols, Pilgrims, and Drama”. The Slain God: Anthropologists and the Christian Faith.
Liminality and the Modern: Living Through the In-Between. Communitas: The Anthropology of Collective Joy. University of London and Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past, University of. Performance and performativity – a method to study the media and how the abolition of slavery has been commemorated”. Victor Turner and Contemporary Cultural Performance. Ritual, Anti-Structure, and Religion: A Discussion of Victor Turner’s Processual Symbolic Analysis. The texts that stated and developed the tenets of Stuckism.