Rave as carnival

Date
2003
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Groch, John Robert
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Bilkent University
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English
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Abstract

In this work I consider contemporary techno-rave parties with regard to their philosophical and cultural origins. Proceeding from Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of carnival, I analyze contemporary rave scene through its precious scope as a carnivallike demonstration, where bodily suggestions in an unrestricted, non-official space taken into account from the point of communal grotesque body. Within rave, the dividing line between performer and audience is blurred, everyone participates. Rave constructs a utopian sphere, second life for change and renewal through ‘laughter’ created by music and Ecstasy. Rave serves as a temporary liberation from the official seriousness to ‘bring down to earth’ anything ineffable or authoritarian to the bodily material level that is ecstatic trance dancing in this context. I intend to claim that rave scene demonstrates a temporary space like carnival in Bakhtin’s sense, where social borders and individual differences such as class and gender are destroyed and reconstructed in the ‘world upside down’ logic ideally and symbolically. By using rave’s popular images and language, one can step outside the patterns of thought and codes of behavior that dominant culture imposes.

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