What is it about?

This article introduces a special issue of Theory and Psychology on liminal hotspots. A liminal hotspot is an occasion during which people feel they are caught suspended in the circumstances of a transition that has become permanent. The liminal experiences of ambiguity and uncertainty that are typically at play in transitional circumstances acquire an enduring quality that can be described as a “hotspot”. Liminal hotspots are characterized by dynamics of paradox, paralysis, and polarization, but they also intensify the potential for pattern shift. The origins of the concept are described followed by an overview of the contributions to this special issue.

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Why is it important?

This new concept helps to identify some unexpected commonalities connecting situations that might otherwise appear unrelated. The Special Issue as a whole suggests that liminal hotspots may be proliferating as part of the de-differentiating dynamic of late modern social systems. It encourages a psychosocial orientation with a focus on embodied persons in social practice, rather than individuals in abstract.


This was a great project to work on, and gave me the chance to work closely with some brilliant people from around Europe.

Paul Stenner
Open University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Introduction to the Special Issue on Liminal Hotspots, Theory & Psychology, April 2017, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0959354316687867.
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