Dr. Orit Gazit - The Magico-religious Facets of the Territorial Passage: Van Gennep, Ontological (In)security and the German Refugee Crisis

Dr. Orit Gazit - The Magico-religious Facets of the Territorial Passage: Van Gennep, Ontological (In)security and the German Refugee Crisis
Activity Date: 
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Orit Gazit focused in her talk on the contemporary concept of ontological security (OS) in migration, reading this concept through Arnold van Gennep’s less known, yet highly relevant and insightful, forgotten theory of territorial passages (1909). She suggested that van Gennep’s approach serves as an innovative perspective which conceives the act of physically and symbolically crossing into a territory as a key for deciphering a fundamental human and social dynamic. She then utilized this theory to analyze the German societal response to the 2015 refugee crisis, illustrating that far from being structural and functionalist, van Gennep’s conceptual toolkit offers us an advanced, power-informed, and processual perspective for uncovering a possible socio-symbolic mechanism behind “losing” and “re-finding” OS in migratory encounters.