Posted by Anna Balser '13
For the women on the Futa, the decision to go on a rafting trip to Patagonia marks “the first phase of separation,” which “comprises a symbolic behavior signifying the detachment of the individual or group either from an earlier fixed point in the social structure” (Turner 1987:5). They literally left their home culture to experience paddling the world-class rapids of the Futa, separating them from the majority of people who do not wish to do so.
The next phase—the “liminal period”—is marked by movement “through a realm that has few or none of the attributes of the past or coming state;” the participant is temporarily identity-less, as they abandon their previous identity in pursuit of a new one (Turner 1987:5). The actual flip of the raft, unexpected and scary, is represented in this liminal period. The group floating down the river was in between their previously inexperienced selves, but had not yet assumed their role as more confident paddlers.
Source: Turner, Victor. "Betwixt and between: The liminal period in rites of passage." Betwixt and between: Patterns of masculine and feminine initiation (1987): 3-19.