Christopher Bégin

christopher.begin@uni-erfurt.de

Doktorand (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)

Visiting address

Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Steinplatz 2
99085 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Christopher Bégin

Personal Information

  • 10/2021-present : PhD student at the Max-Weber-Kolleg, Erfurt and member of the IGS.
  • 2018-2020: M.A. in Sociology, University of Montréal.
  • 2017/2019 : Graduated diploma in German studies, CCGES, University of Montreal.
  • 2017/2018 : Minor in Sociology, University of Montreal.
  • 2012-2017: B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnique Montréal.

Research Project

The emergence of raves, which we define as nocturnal collective experiences of electronic music, stimulated the development of a new utopia in the early 1980s. This utopia provided the hope of a new world order, based on tolerance, liberty, anarchic governance, and a feeling of cosmological belonging. In the early 1990s, while this movement was at its peak, scholars placed great insistence on this culture’s religiosity: they conceived it as close to spirituality, as a meaning system which provides sense to personal experiences. This cultural practice was seen as an attempt to make sense of life, an attempt at a re-sacralization or re-enchantment of the world.

The drug consumption and complaints on the sound nuisance led to the state opposition in the 2000s to raves in England and in Germany and quickly to the regulation of “partying”. It had an influence on its almost anarchic form which moved to a more organized one. This led to the emergence of clubs which might have had an impact on the relationship attendants have to those events, the sense of community, unity and of belonging they used to find in it. The gentrification of big cities has also forced venues to reduce their opening hours and even to a lot of clubs to close, but this culture resisted in some cities like Berlin. This city even recognized recently that clubs are real institutions, giving them the status of cultural spaces.

As raves have been disappearing over the past twenty years, the findings on their spirituality should be revamped in the light of a new reality. This research takes the hypothesis that to attend to electronic music events might push a certain youth to visit other cities, or even to move, in a quest to align a way of living with their beliefs: a possibility to live in harmony with their desires. According to Hartmut Rosa’s resonance theory, this research focuses on the self-world relation that a certain youth might find in clubbing into dance, relation to others, objects, places, but also into time in the hyperextended and looped rhythms, focusing on their religious signification. The aim of this research is to try to understand if going to cities where clubbing is still active can be, as it was in the raves, experienced as meaningful, as religious, as a liminal space: a way to reconnect to a resonant life in a world that has mostly shut every other possibility of experiencing this “religion”. By a combination of participant observation and semi-structured interviews, this research will focus on how the changes from the 1990s in the attendants, in the surroundings and the new regulations can reveal the impacts on the meaning of the attendance to electronic music events especially after a long closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.