A reprint of the seminal anthropological work of the 1960s. Originally published by Manchester University Press.
Victor Turner will be remembered as the anthropologist who developed the concept of the 'social drama', a method used extensively by anthropologists to describe and analyse the social life of a community. In essence, this technique involves analysing social crises within a community over a period of time in order to gain a better understanding of the key principles that govern the social life of the community.
This book -- Turner's first 'social drama' study -- focuses on the village life of the Ndembu of Zambia who were then under British rule. The social constraints, such as the matrilineally-inherited headmanship system, and the various releases from these constraints, provoked periodic crises which caused great disruption and pain. These crises made visible the contradictions between the principles governing social life and the conflicts experienced between individuals and groups when enforcing these principles. Seven social dramas are discussed - all from one family over a period of twenty years -- each substantiated by sociological and demographic research.