Denis Jeffrey

Rave : Staging Transgressive Ecstasy


The rave ritual makes great use of trance and ecstasy practices (namely dance, rythms and drugs) which are reminiscent of psychedelic happenings in the sixties, as well as of disco parties and punk concerts of the seventies, among other phenomena. Thus, a continuity can be quickly drawn from the demand for the creation of environments which catalyze paroxysm behaviours and altered states of consciousness. How can this desire for ecstasy and trance be interpreted ? Does this quest have something to do with transgression ? For Georges Bataille, transgression is nowhere as immediate as in the spheres of mysticism, eroticism and aestheticism. Psychoanalysis, on the other hand, without underestimating the value and importance of the concept of transgression, draws attention, for its part, on regression. Can transgression and regression be linked in experience ? By examining these concepts and the experiences which they each engulf, this article attempts to define a conceptual frame with which an analysis of the ecstasy and trance cults that are rave parties can be further developed.