The rave: Spiritual healing in modern western subcultures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


At raves, young men and women dance to electronic music from dusk to dawn. Previous scholarship treats the rave as a hypertext of pleasure and disappearance. However, such a postmodern view does not attend to the poignant and meaningful spiritual experiences reported by those who go to raves. This article examines claims about altered states of consciousness at raves and the therapeutic results - "spiritual healing" - such states are said to bring. While physiological processes (exhaustive dancing, auditory driving) may contribute to altered states of consciousness, symbolic processes create appropriate frameworks for spiritual healing. Such therapeuticism can be more fully understood in the context of other modern western spiritual subcultures. Placing raves within the context of these other subcultures foregrounds questions for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-49
Number of pages15
JournalAnthropological Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000


  • American spirituality
  • Raves
  • Shamanism
  • Symbolic analysis
  • Youth culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'The rave: Spiritual healing in modern western subcultures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this