Rave Culture: The Number One Example of Social Deviance

Introduction
What is a rave? This is a fundamental question that, in a way, I will attempt to answer in this paper, but I will never do it. Raving is a highly subjective experience. One person's best rave is another person's worst. Any attempt to analyze rave culture must recognize the highly personal factor of the experience. It is because of this fact that I start off my attempt to analyze rave culture with a series of quotes on the experience.

"...hardcore music being slammed through my body while I dance through my own psychedelic mind trip with a few hundred other beautiful energy-filled youth who accept and embrace the life force of the universe."
-rave participant

"In general practice, a "rave" often refers to a party, usually all night long, open to the general public, where loud techno music is ... played and many people partake of a number of different chemicals, though the latter is far from necessary. The number of people at the event is unimportant ... the cost of attendance is unimportant (though in practice, the higher the price, the more commercial the event, and the lower the quality). At a rave, the DJ is a shaman, a priest, a channeler of energy-they control the psychic voyages of the dancers through his [sic] choice in hard-to-find music and their skill in manipulating that music... A large part of the concept of raves is built upon sensory overload-a barrage of audio and very often visual stimuli are brought together to elevate people into an altered state of physical or psychological existence."
-rave participant

"A contingent of city, state, and military police Sunday raided the Paradox Club in the 1300 block of Russell St. where at least 600 people -- some as young as 14 -- were attending a "rave" party at which drugs where available, a Baltimore police official said yesterday"
-rave participant

"I walked into the space, and was immediately struck speechless. The bass was rattling the mirrors on the far wall. There were laser beams everywhere. The music shot into the core of my body and I moved, I just moved, all night long. People I didn't know gave me water when I was thirsty. People gave me candy and hugs. For one night, I was one with the universe, I was one with my neighbor, and I was one with the music."
-rave participant

"But the people who came to dance the night away ... never made it inside the door ... the event was called off ... and the crowd ordered to disperse by local police ... standing by to assist local officers if necessary were seven members of the Green County Sheriff's Department, the hard helmets and visors of their riot gear reflecting the overhead street lights."
-Dotson

"We negotiated the stairs down to the dancefloor, we began to slide in contours to the rhythm, becoming immersed in it, the bass curling round the spine which felt like it had been loosed of its inhibiting rigidity, like it had slipped the bounds of all that was holding it -- us -- back, and we could just flow, loose, warm, alive ... in a second we were amongst the throng, synched right into the matrix of bodies and sound; transported, transformed, together ... the feeling resonated through us as the drums thrashed upwards towards climax" (Collin 3)
"Mr. Gimble said the rave ... was an ... irresponsible and uncontrolled event ... we have a responsibility to let parents know we will protect their kids ... we can't have an event where kids 12 and 13 years old are drinking, smoking, and having sex on the floor."
-Luckman
"... but what struck me more than the immense sensory bliss was the amazing group of people who shared this experience with me-six thousand young, beautiful, high humans having one HELL of a good time together. No fights. No one crying in the corner. No one sick in the stairway. Everybody smiling. People would walk by and actually touch each other. Some people were naked. Some were dressed like aliens. Six thousand brothers and sisters of all races, classes, and sexual orientations. Living equality. Beautiful."
-rave participant
"Charges Pending Over Concert/Drug Bash Over Weekend ... Sheriff Richard Galster said his office first heard of the gathering of