ⓘ Symbolic boundaries


ⓘ Symbolic boundaries

Symbolic boundaries are a theory of how people form social groups proposed by cultural sociologists. Symbolic boundaries are" conceptual distinctions made by social actors…that separate people into groups and generate feelings of similarity and group membership.”

Symbolic boundaries are a necessary but insufficient condition for social change. Only when symbolic boundaries are widely agreed upon can they take on a constraining character and become social boundaries.


1. Durkheim

Emile Durkheim saw the symbolic boundary between sacred and profane as the most profound of all social facts, and the one from which lesser symbolic boundaries were derived.Rituals - secular or religious - were for Durkheim the means by which groups maintained their symbolic/moral boundaries.

Mary Douglas has subsequently emphasised the role of symbolic boundaries in organising experience, private and public, even in a secular society; while other neo-Durkheimians highlight the role of deviancy as one of revealing and making plain the symbolic boundaries that uphold moral order, and of providing an opportunity for their communal reinforcement. As Durkheim himself put it, "Crime brings together upright consciences and concentrates them.to talk of the event and wax indignant in common", thereby reaffirming the collective barriers that have been breached.


2. Transgressing boundaries

Prejudice is often the result of crossing the symbolic boundaries that preserve a groups sense of itself - boundaries that as with a nations frontiers may in fact be real as well as symbolic. The ancient ceremony of beating the bounds highlights that overlapping of real and symbolic bounds. Salman Rushdie has emphasised the role of the migrant as a postmodern representative, transgressing symbolic boundaries, and potentially at least demonised by their upholders in the host nation as a result.

Marjorie Garber has explored the role of the transvestite in crossing the symbolic boundaries of gender - something which she considered tended to challenge those of race as well.


3. Symbolic/social boundaries

Symbolic boundaries are distinct from" social boundaries" that are "objectified forms of social differences manifested in unequal access to an unequal distribution of resources… and social opportunities.”


4. Play

Playing may be seen as a way of testing social boundaries - the unspoken frames set about social activities. Humour too provides a way of illuminating, testing and perhaps also shifting symbolic boundaries.


5. Cultural examples

  • Michael Jackson, in Garbers opinion, erases and detraumatises not only the boundaries between male and female, youth and age, but also between black and white internalising cultural category crises.
  • Boundary plural: boundaries may refer to: Border Personal boundaries a life skill for protecting against having personal values compromised or violated
  • penetration theory Spatial empathy Symbolic boundaries Boundaries : Psychological Boundaries - Healthy Boundaries www.guidetopsychology.com. Graham
  • In computing, a symbolic link also symlink or soft link is a term for any file that contains a reference to another file or directory in the form of
  • implementation of status boundaries Both of these conceptualizations, in turn, provided groundwork for Bourdieu s unifying theory of symbolic capital. The explicit
  • In sociology, symbolic ethnicity is a nostalgic allegiance to, love for, and pride in a cultural tradition that can be felt and lived without having to
  • to a collapse of the boundaries between inner and outer worlds, so that anything reminiscent of the trauma becomes by symbolic equation the trauma itself
  • acknowledges that symbolic boundaries are a necessary but insufficient condition for social change. Only when symbolic boundaries are widely agreed
  • advocates of philosophical idealism. His most famous work is the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms 1923 1929 Born in Breslau in Silesia modern - day southwest Poland
  • Cross - boundary subsidies are caused by organisms or materials that cross or traverse habitat patch boundaries subsidizing the resident populations. The
  • legislation was the Reform Act 1832 and Parliamentary Boundaries Act 1832, which redefined the boundaries for members of parliament. These acts changed the
  • ISBN 9780253219787. Louis, Jr., Bertin Magloire 2008 Protestant Or Christian: Symbolic Boundaries and Long - distance Nationalism Among Protestant Haitians in Nassau
  • College. She completed a senior thesis titled Performing Blackness: Symbolic Boundaries and Aesthetic Distinctions among Spoken Word Poets in Boston. She