Electronic dance music culture and religion: An Overview

St John, Graham (2006) Electronic dance music culture and religion: An Overview. Culture and Religion, 7 1: 1-25. doi:10.1080/01438300600625259

Author St John, Graham
Title Electronic dance music culture and religion: An Overview
Journal name Culture and Religion   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1475-5610
Publication date 2006-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/01438300600625259
Volume 7
Issue 1
Start page 1
End page 25
Total pages 25
Editor M. Nye
Place of publication Abingdon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Subject 420300 Cultural Studies
780107 Studies in human society
Abstract This article provides a comprehensive and critical overview of existing research that investigates (directly and indirectly) the religio-spiritual dimensions of electronic dance music culture (EDMC) (from disco, through house, to post-rave forms). Studies of the culture and religion of EDMC are explored under four broad groupings: the cultural religion of EDMC expressed through 'ritual' and 'festal'; subjectivity, corporeality and the phenomenological dance experience (especially 'ecstasy' and 'trance'); the dance community and a sense of belonging (the 'vibe' and 'tribes'); and EDMC as a new 'spirituality of life'. Moving beyond the cultural Marxist approaches of the 1970s, which held youth (sub)cultural expressions as 'ineffectual' and 'tragic', and the postmodernist approaches of the early 1990s, which held rave to be an 'implosion of meaning', recent anthropological and sociological approaches recognise that the various manifestations of this youth cultural phenomenon possess meaning, purpose and significance for participants. Contemporary scholarship thus conveys the presence of religiosity and spirituality within contemporary popular cultural formations. In conclusion, I suggest that this and continuing scholarship can offer useful counterpoint to at least one recent account (of clubbing) that overlooks the significance of EDMC through a restricted and prejudiced apprehension of 'religion'.
Keyword Rave
Youth subculture
Dance culture
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 20:40:20 EST