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Drop Bass Network's Jesus Raves, June 29 2002, Racine, W

Rave Culture and Religion

Graham St John ed. Routledge, 2004.

Rave Culture & Religion: Welcome

Vast numbers of contemporary youth have attached primary significance to raving and post-rave experiences. This collection of essays explores the socio-cultural and religious dimensions of the rave, 'raving' and rave-derived phenomena.

Rave Culture and Religion provides insights on developments in post-traditional religiosity (especially 'New Age' and 'Neo-Paganism') through studies of rave's Gnostic narratives of ascensionism and re-enchantment, explorations of the embodied spirituality and millennialist predispositions of dance culture, and investigations of transnational digital-art countercultures manifesting at geographic locations as diverse as Goa, India, and Nevada's Burning Man festival. Contributors examine raving as a new religious or revitalization movement; a powerful locus of sacrifice and transgression; a lived bodily experience; a practice comparable with world entheogenic rituals; and as evidencing a new Orientalism. Rave Culture and Religion will be essential reading for advanced students and academics in the fields of sociology, cultural studies and religious studies.

Read the Introduction.

Read Erik Davis's chapter "Hedonic Tantra: Golden Goa's Trance Dance Transmission."


Rave Culture and Religion is a smart book collecting essays many by emerging scholars and graduate students who, in personally experiencing rave culture, find immediate and urgent applicability for the academic theories they are reading. To link rave and religion will hopefully prove shocking enough to the established academic study of religion to open new discussions about religion and popular culture. To link rave and sophisticated academic study will hopefully be shocking enough to a few ravers to lead them to see beyond a simple-minded fuzzy understanding of the power and importance of what they are experiencing. - Professor Sam Gill, University of Colorado at Boulder

Rave Culture & Religion: Text


Foreword by Douglas Rushkoff
Introduction by Graham St John

Part I Techno Culture Spirituality

1. The Difference Engine: Liberation and the Rave Imaginary - Graham St John
2. Ephemeral Spirit: Sacrificial Cyborg and Communal Soul - Hillegonda C. Rietveld

Part II Dance, Rapture and Communion

3. Rapturous Ruptures: the 'Instituant' Religious Experience of Rave - Francois Gauthier
4. 'Connectedness' and the Rave Experience: Rave as New Religious Movement? - Tim Olaveson
5. The Flesh of Raving: Merleau-Ponty and the 'Experience' of Ecstacy - James Landau
6. Entheogenic Dance Ecstasis: Cross-cultural Contexts - Des Tramacchi
7. The 'Natural High': Altered States, Flashbacks and Neural Tuning at Raves -  Melanie Takahashi

Part III Music: The Techniques of Sound and Ecstasy

8. Selecting Ritual: DJ's Dancers and Liminality in Underground Dance Music - Morgan Gerard
9. Sounds of the London Underground: Gospel Music and Baptist Worship in the UK Garage Scene - Ciaran O'Hagan
10. Gamelan, Techno-Primitivism and the San Francisco Rave Scene - Gina Andrea Fatone

Part IV Global Tribes: The Technomadic Counterculture

11. Techno Millennium: Dance, Ecology and Future Primitives - Graham St John
12. Global Nomads: Techno and New Age as Transnational Countercultures in Ibiza and Goa - Anthony D'Andrea
13. Hedonic Tantra: Golden Goa's Trance Transmission - Erik Davis
14. Goa Trance and Trance in Goa: Smooth Striations - Arun Saldanha
15. Dancing on Common Ground: Exploring the Sacred at Burning Man - Robert V. Kozinets and John F. Sherry, Jr.

Rave Culture & Religion: Text
Rave Culture & Religion: Pro Gallery
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