Rave has been greatly considered as a part of the popular culture as opposed to being a sub-culture. The rave culture was first documented in April4, 1970 which described rave dances. Later inn the 1980s the rave culture came to be associated with Acid house Parties which played fast-paced electronic music with light shows. The people in these parties danced to music either played by DJs or even by live performers and the kind of electronic dance played included trance, house, techno, jungle and dub-step. Laser light shows and projected images of artificial fog were also incorporated into the dance
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In regard to the rave culture being considered as a popular culture as opposed to being a subculture, a clear differentiation of a culture and a sub-culture will be useful. Subcultures define themselves as subordinates to a more dominant culture and they try to subvert and pose resistance to the already established order (Rietveld, 1998). However, rave is characteristically different from the theories of the youth culture since it doesn’t have an identifiable dress code nor totally autonomous from the wider culture. Moreover, since it doesn’t cause any type of resistance to any other independent culture, it is therefore not considered as a subculture but an independent culture on its own.
Over the years, the rave culture has been associated with the Acid House Music, a sub genre of Housing which is characterized by hypnotic, repetitive and trance-like music. Acid House also includes samples of spoken lines as opposed to sung lyrics which was developed in the mid 1980s and spread to the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Australia and other pars of the world. Nonetheless, in the 1980s a moral panic was raised in regard to Acid Houses. People questioned the moral values that were being eroded by this genre of music. Some of the issues raised concerned drug taking. This was one of the major issues highly sensitized by the tabloid press. Secondly, through word of mouth invitations, risks of the parties taking place in illegal premises and the level of insecurity that was associated with acid House generated enough excitement towards the youth. In this case, insecurity as one of the major issues contributing to heightened immorality was noted (Collin, 1997)
.In addition, under-age drinking and other substance abuse, rural violence and a host of other ethical issues were established. In this regard, these factors were of great concern to the local communities in the 1980s as the society could observe their youth getting spoilt by the new “trendy’ culture. These were some of the reasons that elucidated the moral panic in the 1980s. Acid House threatened the moral consciousness off the society hence the media in particular took great interest in it.
Some of the social meanings constructed from the club culture when it cuts through linear time by creating a de-centered chaotic reality. Contrary to other genres such as pop and techno which were mainly centered on heterosexual relationships and the attainment of climax, Rave was structured along spatial relationships. This obsession with heterosexuals amongst the pop culture resulted in conventional social obligations. Rave has been said to the balance between organic and mechanic, fusion and fission, seduction and alienation as well as discontinuity and juxtaposition. These new social meanings construed from the rave culture are divergent from the traditional social meanings which had been established by the pop culture and other traditional genres. With the rave experience, taking part in a high sensory, loud and repetitiveness of music leading to a drug ecstasy, as seen, has brought about new perceptions in regard to the social structure as well as established its own place in the contemporary music culture (Fleming, 1995).
I n the contemporary music culture, rave involves electronically engineered music which could take pace in clubs, beaches, derelict warehouses, fields, aircraft hangers and even sports arenas. Presently, it may be free, charged or used to raise funds for particular charity and may be publicized through advertisements. A good example of the rave culture in the contemporary society is the London Jungle scene predominated by the blacks and attracts a number of diversified racial urban youth. Moreover, “gay raves” have also become evident mostly in the North West hence the rave culture is still evident and continues to dig its niche in the contemporary society (Garratt, 1998).
Concerning ethnic and gendered identities that have been constructed, we realize that through rave music, a perpetual community is created which is not influenced by ones demography, age, ethnic background or even gender. It is a communal event which involves the sharing of drugs and the creation of a temporary community. It has become evident when the idea of communities is slowly fading hence it is trying to reconnect what is perceived as having been lost. In addition, the rave culture has been gendered, primarily in regard to sexuality. Since rave is about ecstasy and the ability to achieve climax, women have been described as continuous motion machines which have been automated to generate their own rapture while men are hyper-orgasmic beings who are not dictated by lust but rather by the quest for identification and inspiration (Pearson & Gilbert, 1999).
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The club culture can be seen as being subversive in regard to the destabilization of the listener’s common sense perception and values. The loud music and the lights are aimed at taking the raver from the restraints of his/her body to a new altered state. They give in to the sublime flux of the unconscious hence being subversive towards the norm. This is what has led to the redefining of gendered and ethnic identities which break away from the social norm. Moreover, its subversions are illustrated by its characteristic loudness and repetitiveness of music which is contrary to slow soothing aspects of music (Thornton, 1995)
The rave culture is not entirely characteristically postmodern since its roots are strongly edged in some traditional genres. For example, housing was evident in the 1980s and is greatly linked to the rave culture. This is through its loud and repetitive music. Secondly, rock music which is a good example of the contemporary form of the rave culture is a traditional genre that has undergone evolution over the years. In this regard, while the rave culture may be very significant in the postmodern society, its cradle is tied in the traditional society as well (Henderson, 1997).
In conclusion, the rave culture has not only established itself as a culture but also attracted a number of audiences all over the world in the contemporary society. In the 1980s, it was greatly associated with youth but currently it shares a number of audiences not tied by age, gender, demography or race. It is temporary community that seeks to reinstate some of the lost qualities of culture. It is subversive with respect to sexual ideologies and social structure.
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