Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Joseph Baker

Thesis Professor Department

Sociology and Anthropology

Thesis Reader(s)

Martha Copp, Jeffrey God


By definition subcultures harbor their own sets of norms and unique characteristics. From fashion to slang vocabularies, each subculture stands apart as a world of its own. In the subculture of psychedelic trance, an electronic music based subculture, such marking characteristics are taken beyond superficial expressions. Through repeated exposure to spiritual concepts, language, and rituals, thecommunity fosters spiritual practices and beliefs in individual members. Using in-depth interviews and extended participant observation, Iidentify patterns and commonalities, as well as divergences, in the spiritual practice and beliefs of subculture members. Ultimately psy-trance members draw on organized religious traditions while also distinguishing their activities and group from traditional religion. The role of music in collective ritual and the concept of lived religious experience provide insight into the beliefs and practices of the psy-trance subculture.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

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