Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Mark J. Kaswan

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Olney

Third Advisor

Dr. Christopher O’Kane


This thesis establishes a foundation for liminality in political theory. Liminality, a concept mostly developed in anthropology, is used by them to describe middle periods in rites of passage. Unlike the anthropologists, I argue that liminality should be theorized phenomenologically. Utilizing the history of political philosophy, liminality is defined as a dialectical phenomenon that acts between and beyond the limits of things, Self, and Other. I describe liminality as an ontological-epistemological or existential condition that acts as a connecting tissue to both define what is and the space between things. This requires that notions of power, politics, and their ends be re-evaluated. What liminality offers is new opportunities for theorizing politics by shifting attention away from individuals and toward the nature and quality of the relationships—the connections—between them.


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