liminality, trickster, imitation, schismogenesis
The central aim of this book is to offer a theoretical framework for analysing the situation and role of ethnic and religious minorities in divided societies, and to apply this framework for some European countries where significant ethnic or religious minorities are present and where there is a strong, religion-based ethnic conflict dividing the society. The theoretical framework will be based on a set of anthropological concepts, including liminality, imitation, trickster and schismogenesis, that are little used, especially together, outside specialised anthropological studies, but that have particular relevance for the study of socio-political conflicts in the modern world, and which the editors of this special issue extensively studied in the past. In particular, using the conceptual pair ‘marginality/liminality’ (Szakolczai 2000: 183-8), the Special Issue will investigate how such situations emerge in peripheral areas, in between major cultural, political and civilizational centres, and how such ‘marginal’ places, and especially certain minorities living in such areas, can gain a liminal position, in mediating between societies and cultures, but also in becoming permanent sources of conflict. Such at once marginal and liminal areas to be studied include Transylvania, Bosnia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Moldova, and Northern Ireland.