Drumming toward communitas : a case study of facilitated recreational music making and the Arthurian method
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The phenomenon of communitas has been described as a moment 'in and out of time' in which a collective of individuals may be experienced by one as equal and individuated in an environment stripped of structural attributes (Turner, 1 969). In these moments, emotional bonds form and an experience of perceived 'oneness' and synergy may be described. As a result of the perceived value of these experiences, it has been suggested by Sharpe (2005) that more clearly understanding how this phenomenon may be purposefully facilitated would be beneficial for leisure service providers. Consequently, the purpose of this research endeavor was to examine the ways in which a particular leisure service provider systematically employs specific methods and sets specific parameters with the intention of guiding participants toward experiences associated with communitas or "shared spirit" as described by the organization. A qualitative case study taking a phenomenological approach was employed in order to capture the depth and complexity of both the phenomenon and the purposefiil negotiation of experiences in guiding participants toward this phenomenon. The means through which these experiences were intentionally facilitated was recreational music making in a group drumming context. As such, an organization which employs specific methods of rhythm circle facilitation as well as trains other facilitators all over the world was chosen purposely for their recognition as the most respectable and credible in this field. The specific facilitator was chosen based on high recommendation by the organization due to her level of experience and expertise. Two rhythm circles were held, and participants were chosen randomly by the facilitator. Data was collected through observation in the first circle and participant- observation in the second, as well as through focus groups with circle participants. Interviews with the facilitator were held both initially to gain broad understanding of concepts and phenomenon as well as after each circle to reflect on each circle specifically. Data was read repeatedly to drawn out patterns which emerged and were coded and organized accordingly. It was found that this specific process or system of implementation lead to experiences associated with communitas by participants. In order to more clearly understand this process and the ways in which experiences associated with communitas manifest as a result of deliberate facilitator actions, these objective facilitator actions were plotted along a continuum relating to subjective participant experiences. These findings were then linked to the literature with regards to specific characteristics of communitas. In so doing, the intentional manifestation of these experiences may be more clearly understood for ftiture facilitators in many contexts. Beyond this, findings summarized important considerations with regards to specific technical and communication competencies which were found to be essential to fostering these experiences for participants within each group. Findings surrounding the maintenance of a fluid negotiation of certain transition points within a group rhythm event overall were also highlighted, and this fluidity was found to be essential to the experience of absorption and engagement in the activity and experience. Emergent themes of structure, control, and consciousness have been presented as they manifested and were found to affect experiences within this study. Discussions surrounding the ethics and authenticity of these particular methods and their implementation has also been generated throughout. In conclusion, there was a breadth as well as depth of knowledge found in unpacking this complex process of guiding individuals toward experiences associated with communitas. The implications of these findings contribute in broadening the current theoretical as well as practical understanding as to how certain intentional parameters may be set and methods employed which may lead to experiences of communitas, and as well contribute a greater knowledge to conceptualizing the manifestation of these experiences when broken down.