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Raver Subculture in Young America

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Essay title: Raver Subculture in Young America

Raver Subculture in Young America

Over the past few years, an interesting focus has developed among our youth subculture in American society today. I have been interested in how the raver subculture has come into existence, and how they are able to maintain their unanimity and cohesiveness. This subculture mainly consists of people who go to “raves,” also known as, underground dance parties where people go to hear “techno” (electronically produced) music and have intense experiences, which they feel are self-transforming. The ravers use an emotionally laden jargon to attempt to explain the intensity of their experiences to the unconverted. I felt that by researching the rave subculture I could come to a conclusion as to why ravers are choosing to use ecstasy as their choice of drug and the effects of it.

There has been a great deal of research into how the rave subculture came into being from organization around music, to drugs, and countercultural norms and deviant practices in society. While there have been efforts to look at the interrelations between language, culture, and identity, most of this research in these areas has not looked into the process of language formation and the ways in which existing languages are altered to fit new constantly changing roles, perceptions, and identities. However, my research will put emphasize on how in this subculture there is a constant presence of innovation and experimentation involved in language as well as, the illegal use of ecstasy. I will also focus on how the use of ecstasy is shifting the direction of social change.

(Discuss 2 Articles-Jstor)

In the U.S. the subculture has been branded by the mainstream media and law enforcement agencies as a purely drug-centric culture similar to the hippies of the 1960s. As a result, I suspect that ravers will be effectively run out of business in many areas in the years to come. Furthermore, the rave subculture is aware that in rejecting existing linguistic practices, they are also challenging the norms and worldviews that they are suppose to. Linguistic innovation is a way of testing pathways of development for linguistic systems, attempting to find vectors which may meet future cultural demands and point to new directions of social change.

To accurately asses this subculture I will be using participant and observation methods. I started my research by going out to a rave, with a well known DJ playing, at Light Lounge. The night started late at around 11:00p.m. I enjoyed a few drinks while I was observing how ravers interact with one another. The first thing I noticed is how this subculture dressed in bright colored child-like clothing. Ravers use pacifiers in their mouth to fight off the sensation given to them by taking the drug ecstasy. Light shows intensify how the ravers interact with one another, allowing them to hit the dance floor and express themselves by dancing with others. Ravers that I spoke with at the club said they liked techno music more because “it lets your mind fill in the blanks”. Ravers also claimed that when they danced in large groups, listening to techno, taking “XTC”, they were able to see the “true meanings” behind the music through intense synaesthetic experiences. In turn, it created a separate stimulation in conjunction with the visual displays (lasers, holograms, strobes, videos, etc.) at rave.

The ravers felt that the music has a deep psychological and emotional impact on the listener, and that each of the different kinds of techno “resonates” with different aspects of a person’s being. Ambient is cerebral, aimed at the mind, hardcore techno is kinetic and aimed at the feet, compared to club and jungle music being instead more “soulful”, aimed at the spirit. Although, much of the raver jargon revolves around identifying the various subgroups found at rave parties (zippies

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