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The peculiarities of ritual behavior and taboo in the functionality of subcultures

Author: Mărgărint Tatiana
Degree:doctor of philosophy
Speciality: 09.00.01 - Ontology and Gnoseology
Scientific adviser: Eugenia Bogatu
doctor, associate professor (docent)
Scientific consultant: Svetlana Coandâ
doctor habilitat, associate professor (docent), Moldova State University
Institution: Moldova State University


The thesis was presented on the 28 October, 2022
Approved by NCAA on the 24 February, 2023


Adobe PDF document1.04 Mb / in romanian


CZU 316.723:343.82(043.3)

Adobe PDF document 2.82 Mb / in romanian
171 pages


ritual, taboo, subculture, penitentiary subculture, ritual behavior, ritual prohibitions, human existence, humanization of the penitentiary system, resocialization of prisoners


The thesis includes: introduction, three chapters, general conclusions and recommendations, 140 basic text pages, bibliography with 339 titles, 4 annexes. The results of the research conducted are presented in 14 scientific papers with a total volume of 12.15 c.a.

Area of research: Ontology and Gnoseology 631.01.

The aim of this research is to substantiate the particularities of ritual behavior and taboo in the functionality of various subcultures from an ontological perspective, implicitly highlighting the significant dimensions of human existence in the penitentiary subculture, the specific way of building interpersonal relationships and perceiving the world around.

Research goals: identification of existing concepts and theories on subcultural dynamics; determining the complexity of ritual behavior in the context of human experience; establishing the interactions between ritual and taboo from an ontological perspective; highlighting the causes and manifestations of the penitentiary subculture as an effect of incarceration; analysis of the elements of the penitentiary subculture, of space and time in the penitentiary environment; differentiating of the rites of passage present in the Goian nr.10 juvenile penitentiary; determining the possibility of diminishing the phenomenon of subculture in the penitentiary environment; estimating the possibilities for reforming the penitentiary system and humanising detention in accordance with the new requirements; justification of strategies for resocialization of persons detained in penitentiaries in the Republic of Moldova.

The scientific novelty and the originality of the obtained results derives from the ontological approach of ritual and taboo as elements of the subculture possible due to the qualitative research carried out in the penitentiary space. The analysis of the collected information gave us the opportunity to identify concrete ways of resocializing detainees, possible aspects of reforms that would be effective in the penitentiary system. The research provides a theoretical basis for the elaboration of a system of measures that would allow: diminishing the negative influence of the penitentiary subculture on the detainees; prevention of violent behavior of certain categories of detainees; planning detainee resocialization activities, etc. The innovative element lies in conducting field research with detainees from all penitentiary institutions in the Republic of Moldova and with persons released from detention, who have served their sentences in penitentiaries in the country and in Russia.

The scientific novelty and the originality of the obtained results derives in the scientific fundamentation of ritual and taboo in relation to the penitentiary subculture, which allowed the determination of barriers in resocializing detainees in order to return to society people who will easily adapt to society's norms and values. Determining of effective strategies for reforming and humanizing penitentiary institutions that have humanism as a principle of detention. Theoretical significance. The theoretical significance reveals that the penitentiary subculture was researched, but the emphasis of the given approaches was put on the informal castes, the informal norms, the slang from the criminological, criminal point of view. We were interested in the rituals performed by individuals, the existing taboos in their relationships, the slang as an element of ritual behavior, all from a philosophical perspective. The approached aspects contribute to the deep understanding of the dimensions of human existence in the penitentiary space, of the ritual behavior as a pattern of order in the context of human experience, of the strategies of reforming the penitentiary system, of humanizing detention and resocializing detainees. The thesis can be a benchmark for further scientific investigations in the field of social ontology and other adjacent branches, such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, etc.

The empiric value of the thesis. The field activity, carried out within the various researches, allowed the understanding of the essence of the penitentiary subculture, of the rituals and taboos approached in the doctoral thesis. The results of the research were presented, in some conferences, to the employees of the National Administration of Penitentiaries, probation counselors, judges, prosecutors, representatives of NGOs in the field.

Implementation of scientific results. The basic conclusions and recommendations of the doctoral thesis were presented at several national and international scientific-practical conferences. The results of the investigations can be used in the elaboration of the resocialization programs of the detainees, in the educational programs that aim to diminish the subculture phenomenon in the penitentiary environment, in the elaboration of the reform and humanization strategies of the penitentiary institutions