Posted by: heykro | May 24, 2009

boys to men

These last few weeks have certainly been busy! Essays have taken over my life, and therefore I have neglected my blog. I’ll try to post a bunch of blogs to make up for my lack of these past weeks.

Alves’ article on urban boys’ initiation rites in Portugal was about nine and ten year old boys who created their own initiation rites. They went on rampages through the city, creating havoc and destroying property. Afterwards, they created personal narratives of their adventures, telling the other boys about their rampage. This article tied in nicely with Van Gennep’s “rite de passage”, as the boys transitioned from one state to another involving changes in their social status. Through these self-created initiation rites, the boys gained status as men in the community. Their antisocial behaviour was an appropriate way to express their marginal condition during the liminal periods of “rites de passage”. Their narratives reflected a state of communitas. There was also a fair amount of symbolism in this ritual, such as the walls which served to separate private from public spaces. When the boys walked on the walls, it represented an ambiguous state. This article was a fine example of a ritual which incorporated all of Van Gennep’s liminal experiences. The article itself was quite long though, and I found myself skimming through the narratives of the boys, as well as the linguistic information. What was relevant though, was the construction of an initiation ritual which enabled these boys to become men in their own right.



  1. […] with adulthood, and also how historically situated these rites of passage can be. Edo12 and K.Ro have good summaries while RitualMand brings a personal perspective to the discussion. […]

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