Rave is an historical term that describes all-night dance parties without licensing. The party featured electronic music such as techno, house, trance, and drum. It was an anti-establishment type. They were secretive clubs that only a select few could access after-hours. They were known as 'acid homes' in England and then spread to other European countries like Germany, Sweden, France, and France. These parties had one thing in common: they kept the location secret until hours before the event. (Anderson & Kavanaugh 2007). To find out more about the location of the rave, the few members who were informed would meet at a designated point.
The rave movement grew in popularity, but was also more commercialized, making it less secretive. Investors wanted to maximize mass sales and marketing opportunities. Raves were a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs. They rented large entertainment venues such as stadiums and clubs to host raves and collected a fee from the attendants. Dancers were also offered juice and mineral water. The trend continued into the 200s when it began to lose favor with traditional'members. They felt that raves had become too popular and lacked exclusivity. The rave has seen many changes since its inception, and was popular throughout Europe and America. Many sociologists and scholars have been drawn to the study of this cultural transformation. This paper examines how and why raves have evolved to the current level in European society.
Historical Aspects of Rave Subculture Transformation
In the 1980s, they emerged as illegal night dances called 'Acid House'. However, raves were quickly accepted in Europe and the United Kingdom as part of a subculture. Later in the 1990s, it became a popular underground youth movement. Many clubs dropped its secrecy and made it a mass-oriented night club dance. Several organizations held legalized raves in fields or entertainment venues in the UK by the start of the 1990s. The scene changed in the middle 1990s, when local councils adopted council by-laws to raise licensing fees to stop the culture spreading further. There was growing concern that raves could be a place for unsavory culture and sexuality among youth (Furlong & Guidikova 2001). However, this did not stop illegal parties from growing despite being banned.
The rave subculture spread throughout Europe, especially in Germany. It became part of youth culture and turned into a popular trend. Some observers believe raves culture is a new type of society, commonly referred to as a raving society (Anderson & Kavanaugh 2007, p. 499). There were tens to thousands of 'ravers' at the events, so media houses weren't left out when they created entertainment magazines for youth. Radio and television stations were also absorbed in the analysis. Recent raves have gained commercial appeal with marketers targeting wealthy teens who can afford to attend the parties. This trend is not secretive anymore. It is a mass movement of people who meet up to express their social worthiness.
The Modern Rave is a Sub-culture in Europe: What are its Characteristics?
Rave has found its roots in major European capitals - beaches, abandoned warehouses, and almost all open fields (Guy & Sally 1992). Its widespread popularity is actually linked to increased networking channels that allow hardcore members to quickly get information about events. Many young people could be seen dancing in nightclubs with revolving floodlights that have varying sensual colors. Other attendants could be seen looking at any video on the other side of the hall (Guy & Sally 1992).
The rave subculture is progressively taking over the traditional nightlife. Rave is often accompanied by illegal drug sales and love-laced activities. This "disenchantment" with the existing societal arrangements (Guy & Sally 92).
The European Society and Night Culture
Days and nights are part of the universe. In many ways, the two parts of the natural world do not look the same, particularly in the physical aspect of nature. Williams (2008) refers to the "night-space" as raves became synonymous with European youth who wanted more than just partying after regular party-time. The most fascinating aspect of day-and-night phenomena is their social uses. These social practices are defined by the social practices of the people (Williams 2008).
Night raves were more socially acceptable than regular partying, which was regulated by the law. They were socially inclined night-outs, but they were also characterized as European youths trying their best to find their identity. Night subculture, which is characterized by raves, is thought to be associated with normal human behaviors that seek to control their day-to-day activities through social relationships (Riley More & Griffin 2010). Williams (2008) observes, however, that night space isn't uniform and varied in nature. This gives a society the opportunity to choose their own niche in social life. This type of 'demand' for personal identity drives people with different social backgrounds but who share a common imagination of what they want (Williams 2008). This would mean that youths in Europe would identify themselves as techno and other forms of 'rave' music. These ideologies are primarily driven by an innate belief that there is no need for uniformity. This trend was a result of the battle between ravers and the law.
Rave Ideology, and the Law in European Countries
Europe's rave culture developed during a period of significant socio-economical and political changes. To stop the popularity of night raves spreading outside the UK, the UK passed several bylaws in the 1990s. The rave culture originated in London and was rapidly spreading to other parts of the UK. The mainstream society, mainly parents, became concerned about this phenomenon. They believed it was responsible for many of the problems associated with modern youth (Anderson & Kavanaugh 2007). According to the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, music was defined as "sounds wholly and predominantly characterized in the emission of a succession if repetitive beats." (Anderson & Kavanaugh 2007, p.512). Sections 63, 64 and 65 of the Act specifically addressed raves and the music played at them. Some sections, for example, allowed police to end any public rave that had more than 100 attendees or was organized by more than one person (Anderson & Kavanaugh 2007, p.512). These sections were designed to stop rave culture from spreading and the associated social ills like drug abuse and sexual exploitations. Many pundits believed that such laws would signal the end of the rave movement. The rave element was changing significantly by the mid-1990s. As raves evolved from a single unit to multiple units, the style and content of them changed. Attended parties were characterized with different dance music and different types of attendants. It also became more expensive. Many believe that due to the increasing popularity of commercial sponsorship, it was difficult for law enforcement to stop the spread of raves.
Anderson & Kavanaugh (2007) assert that the relationship between the search for identity and those who oppose it is never mutual. This means that any attempt to challenge a group of people who have been united by their social identity is likely to be met with equal force. In such a situation, social groups will devise ways to survive and maneuver their way out to pursue their vague, but often addictive goals and desires, sometimes leading to drug abuse (Anderson & Kavanaugh 2007). Others with different interests and goals, often not the original founders of the social group, will join the organization and contribute to its progress, sometimes without realizing the impact of their actions. It is important to remember that the different groups benefit from each other's mutual understanding. This idea can explain the relationship between businesspeople and ravers. The former joined the social networks of the latter in order to further their commercial interests and goals. They then helped diversify the trend. Most often, this trend continues against other members of society. The need to be defined in the social niche is fundamentally driven by other motivating factors, such as economic and political.
Rave and the Politics
Riley, More & Griffin (2010) used the neoliberalism and neotribalism theories to understand rave culture and political association in their study of leisure's potential as a conduit for political activities. These theories suggest that individuals can participate in political initiatives via informal unions. Instead of viewing citizens as mere pleasure animals, complex interactions between individuals could lead to a form discussion that propagates political ideologies (Riley More & Griffin 2010).
Many European countries, as well as other post-industrialized countries, are seeing a shift towards a more collective approach to politics and ideologic amalgamations. This arrangement saw youth as being associated with depoliticized ideas (Riley More & Griffin 2010, 2010). The current trend has changed, however, as many scholars now identify social groups that are linked to youths, as a source for political success. However, this is only true if they are removed from the culture of nonpolitical association.
Many European countries have developed programs to encourage youth political participation. These programs are mainly focused on making them more politically active by educating them in mainstream formal education. The use of rave culture, among other European youth cultures, for political purposes has been widely criticised. It is seen as a top down approach to infuse youths with political participation, disregarding their age and status (Riley More & Griffin 2010). The approach defines political participation within the framework of traditional political participation. It assumes that the youth model of political ideology is closely related to the adult model. Therefore, youth are designed to learn how to manage socio-political endeavors. Griffin, Riley, More, and Griffin (2010). They fail to meet the demands of adults who don't seem to get the 'youth taste and what they want from their lives.
Conflicting socio-political ideologies between the youth and the adults can lead to rebellion within the entire society. This is how youth behave towards activities that are different from others in society (Riley More & Griffin 2010, 2010). The youth may be open to activities outside of the societal norms. Because such traditional societal setups are dominated and governed by parents, senior members of society dominate them. Young people who fail to join the older members of society are called'societal failures'. This is a term that encourages rebellion and sometimes leads to self-destructive behavior that keeps them from fulfilling their obligations, such as political engagements (Riley More and Griffin, 2010).
Riley, More & Griffin (2010) suggest that youths can engage in mainstream politics with a clear, non-subjective approach. This would help to curb some of the negative aspects associated with rave culture. Their analysis shows that the current social unions are made up of "sub-tribes" that could be helpful in setting the direction of society on a social, political, and economic level. This is possible only if they are able to understand their shared beliefs and values as well as their understanding of appropriate behavior.
Commercialization of Rave Culture
Although rave music is not at its peak, it has seen a steady rise in members. This will allow marketers and companies to reach a single market. Numerous media radio stations and television stations play rave-related techno music to a select group of people. This allows companies to target specific markets for their marketing purposes. To increase their reach to the younger generation, major electronic labels such as Sony have signed up groups to perform rave music.
Not all young people are thrilled about the rise of rave culture as a popular phenomenon. Anderson & Kavanaugh (2007) found that many of the society's young elites are dissatisfied by the commercialization and exploitation of European rave culture. This has diluted their previously exclusive pleasure area. One respondent said that it used to be an elite event, but now it is accessible to everyone (p.516). Some people explained that the scene has become more commercialized and less intimate, which means that one can no longer enjoy the same coziness that it once brought to traditional attendees (Anderson & Kavanaugh 2007, 2007). It is now accepted that this trend will continue as more people get involved in the cultural heritage of rave subculture. Many believe that rave's commercial success is what drives its development and acceptance in modern society. The increased competition in the rave business has led to a new phenomenon in which rave joints are not considered a mass market, but a niche market that targets young people and their high-life consumption habits. This is why mineral water, juice and many other soft drinks makers are trying to seize the opportunity created by categorizing ravers.
In the 1980s, Europe saw the emergence of a rave subculture. It has evolved into what we would call "sub-cultural expansion". The formerly secretive "society" has evolved into a popular culture thanks to the youth mass movements, which have shaped the social, economic, and political behavior of society. As more companies view it as a marketing tool, this phenomenon will only grow. Another reason is that youth believe their lifestyle is what makes them different from adults. This causes them to be at odds with traditional societal norms that define 'good behavior'. However, the political class that has always considered youth culture of rave antisocial has begun to create more programs to incorporate them into traditional political ideologies.
Anderson, T., & Kavanaugh, P. (2007). A ‘Rave’ Review: Conceptual interests and analytical shifts in Research on rave culture. Sociology Compass, Vol.1, Issue 2, pp. 499-519.
Furlong, A., & Guidikova, I. (2001). Transition of Youth Citizenship in Europe: Culture, Subculture. London. Human Rights Education.
Guy, G., & Sally, D. (1992). Tripping the night fantastic. Academic Search Premier, Vol. 140, Issue 7. Web.
Riley, S., More, Y., & Griffin, C. (2010). The ‘pleasure citizen’: Analyzing partying as a form of social and political avenue. CONCORDIA UNIV LIBRARY. Web.
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