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Schoolies week as a rite of passage: A study of celebration and control
chapterposted on 2019-05-22, 00:00 authored by Hilary WinchesterHilary Winchester, PM McGuirk, K Everett
Schoolies Week on the Australian Gold Coast is interpreted in this chapter as a rite of passage from youth to adulthood. It occurs in a highly constrained period of space and time, and involves ritualised and transgressive bodily experiences. The spatial context is significant. The Gold Coast is Australia's premier tourist destination, a liminal space separated from the normal workaday environment. The rite of passage of Schoolies Week occurs over several weeks in November- December, the summer holiday period which immediately follows the Australian school-leaving examination, the Higher School Certificate. School students, predominantly from New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, but also from Victoria, converge on the Gold Coast in a form of pilgrimage to the Australian place which, above all others for Australians, most clearly epitomises sun, surf and sex. We argue here that the liminal location and the temporal separation from school both remove constraints and inhibitions. The result is a week of intense physical activity.