International Journal of Transpersonal Studies


This article offers a theoretical framework for understanding the biographical work of cancer survivorship using two concepts from social anthropology: liminality and ritual. The framework is intended to foster greater understanding of survivorship and facilitate innovative psychosocial treatment approaches. First, the concept of biographical work will be defined. The notion of prolonged liminality will then be introduced in relation to the biographical work of cancer survivorship. Finally, the performance of ritual will be suggested as one possible approach to ending prolonged liminality and completing successful biographical work. Ultimately, it is proposed that marking a life transition through ritual may help the cancer survivor to concretize his or her own biographical work. In doing so, he or she may be able to exit the liminal state and integrate the illness experience into a new life narrative, thereby experiencing optimal well-being during the survivorship phase.