Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Graham St. John: Technomad and Global Raving Countercultures

While I was conducting research for my M.A. thesis on Burning Man Festival, one of the more helpful sources was the Australian scholar, Graham St. John who did research on a similar countercultural festival called ConFest. Graham has continued his research over the last several years and has focused on rave culture. Below is an announcement concerning his new book on the topic, Technomad: Global Raving Countercultures (Equinox, 2009).

"Technomad: Global Raving Countercultures is the most wide-ranging and detailed of all the books on rave. More than the study of a musical movement or genre, Technomad offers an alternate history of cultural politics since the 1960s, from hippies and Acid Tests through the sound systems and 'vibe-tribes' of the 1990s and beyond. Like Greil Marcus's Lipstick Traces, Technomad makes unexpected but entirely convincing connections between people, movements and events. Like Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, St John's book introduces us to unknown heroes, committed geniuses and genuine revolutionaries. Beautifully written, with a genuinely international perspective on electronic dance music culture, Technomad is one of the best books on music I've read in some time."

- Professor Will Straw
, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University

Book description:

A cultural history of global electronic dance music countercultures, Technomad explores the pleasurable and activist trajectories of post-rave culture. The book documents an emerging network of techno-tribes, exploring their pleasure principles and cultural politics. Attending to sound system culture, electro-humanitarianism, secret sonic societies, teknivals and other gatherings, intentional parties, revitalisation movements and counter-colonial interventions, Technomad investigates how the dance party has been harnessed for transgressive and progressive ends - for manifold freedoms. Seeking freedom from moral prohibitions and standards, pleasure in rebellion, refuge from sexual and gender prejudice, exile from oppression, rupturing aesthetic boundaries, re-enchanting the world, reclaiming space, fighting for "the right to party," and responding to a host of critical concerns, electronic dance music cultures are multivalent sites of resistance.

Drawing on extensive ethnographic, netographic and documentary research, Technomad details the post-rave trajectory through various local sites and global scenes, with each chapter attending to unique developments in the techno counterculture: e.g. Spiral Tribe, teknivals, psytrance, Burning Man, Reclaim the Streets, Earthdream. The book offers an original, nuanced theory of resistance to assist understanding of these developments. This cultural history of hitherto uncharted territory will be of interest to students of cultural, performance, music, media, and new social movement studies, along with enthusiasts of dance culture and popular politics.


1. Introduction: The Rave-olution?

2. Sound System Exodus: Tekno-Anarchy in the UK and Beyond

3. Secret Sonic Societies and Other Renegades of Sound

4. New Tribal Gathering: Vibe-Tribes and Mega-Raves

5. The Technoccult, Psytrance and the Millennium

6. Rebel Sounds and Dance Activism: Rave and the Carnival of Protest

7. Outback Vibes: Dancing Up Country

8. Hardcore, You Know the Score

No comments: