The Rave Subculture Essay

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The dizzying laser lights flashed in synchronicity with the pulsating bass of the music that bounced off the psychedelic warehouse walls. As my boyfriend and I mentally attempted to organize the chaos surrounding us, we pushed our way through the crowd of spasmodic lunatics who contorted their bodies in time with the music and lights. We located a couch in a room covered with cartoonesque, hyper-graphic graffiti. An androgynous man sat himself at my feet and began massaging my thighs, while a girl with her eyes rolled back into her head demanded that my boyfriend give her a massage. Just then the deejay laid his head in my lap, told me he was in love with me, and placed a bitter pill on my tongue. This certainly was the most bizarre method …show more content…
This paper offers an introductory glimpse into the rave subculture for members of mainstream culture. The exploration includes rave artifacts, lexicons, and mysterious rituals. Based on two years of ethnography in the rave scene combined with published documentation, a survival guide for attending raves is offered for the naive, but curious. To survive in the rave subculture, possessing both the artifacts (nonverbal communication) and lexicon (verbal communication) are imperative. Artifacts include appropriate clothing, essential supplies, and psychedelic toys. Examples of interesting and unusual artifacts will be used throughout the paper to give the reader a vicarious rave experience. Insider lexicon phrases include codes for illegal substances, group rituals, and dance music. The reader will be taught some of the unique rave jargon, so that he or she can speak "rave."
Although there is no definitive source on the etymology of the term "rave," most ravers agree that the term originally referred to "raving" about the secret, decadent parties. There is also no universally agreed upon definition for the term, but a few examples will serve to conceptualize the term. Bradburn’s (Jul. 1993) broad definition is of " a new phenomenon that is more of a spontaneous happening that brings people together for dancing in various locations." More specifically, Saltonstall (1995) defines raves as "all-night dance parties that move

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