Transformation of Traditional Culture: The Role of the Avatime Initiation Rite in Modern Times

Author: Lapushkina, Alina O.
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 19, Number 1 / March 2020


The evolution of social institutions, particularly of rites of passage, is a gradual process in West Africa, drawing on a centuries-long body of tradition, and influenced by various cultural, economic and political factors. Today, gathering piece-by-piece the oral tradition of the history of the rites of passage of a small ethnic group in eastern Ghana, one can find many examples of how these practices are adaptive by their very nature (Baiburin 1993). The structure of the rite has been shaped by various external factors and historical process. The attempt to explain such rites by saying simply that ‘the ancestors did it this way’ is insufficient. Rather, a regularized socialization practice, in this case rites of passage, shares its functions with a number of other socialization practices, while it continues to evolve.

Alina O. Lapushkina, International Center of Anthropology more