Dancing with Dumont

Individualism at an Early Morning Melbourne Rave

  • Matthew T Phillips Deakin university


Drawing from research into Australian bush doof festivals and raves, this paper details the happenings at an early morning conscious clubbing rave in Melbourne, Australia. I draw from my ethnographic research and from the work of Louis Dumont to demonstrate how the forms of sociality and subjectivity that emerge within the morning rave relate to deeper cultural and symbolic dynamics of individualistic societies. I use a Dumontian lens to analyse the dancing, attire and grounding exercises at the rave to help elucidate a deeper understanding of these ritual practices. The ravers are bringing forth an individualistic conception of human subjectivity and human sociality through their lived actions. Thus, the rave is not a mere reflection of individualism but a live creation of it.

Author Biography

Matthew T Phillips, Deakin university

Matthew T Phillips is an anthropologist based in Melbourne, Australia. He is currently a PhD candidate in anthropology at Deakin University, researching the Australian bush doof festival as “a social experiment in affect or an affective experiment in the social”. He is interested in electronic dance music, raves and bush doofs, as well as world renunciation and drop out movement within modern societies.

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