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  1. Youth Subcultures – Annual Conference, Copenhagen 1996
    At the ECO (Exchange Coordinator) meeting in Copenhagen in 1996, Gøran Levin was elected chairman of ETEN, and subsequently the annual conference was held. Højvangseminariet was responsible for the event, which took place in Eigtved’s Warehouse in the port of Copenhagen.
    The title was “Youth Subcultures”. Astrid Sødring, Helle Schousboe, Peter Mikkelsen and I were in charge of the program and running of the Copenhagen Days. There were workshops and exciting presentations, including by the German philosopher and educator, Professor Thomas Ziehe from Hanover and Danish Professor Søren Langager from the Danish University of Education in Copenhagen.

    In the 1990s, it was common among young people to use the term “Rave” not only about the modern, urban dance culture, but also as a collective term for a subculture of modern, hard and electronically based dance music with terms such as house, dance, trance and techno. So, we tried to illustrate what a youth subculture could be, by introducing the conference participants to a “Rave”.
    The rave culture was closely linked to the explosive development of modern information technology. Developments in this area shattered most of the limitations of the imagination in the 1990s. “Cyber culture” was introduced as a concept in these years. The rave culture had many ideological characteristics reminiscent of the values of hippie culture in the late 1960s. At the house / rave parties, psychedelic clothes and obvious use of drugs were seen. A “peace and love” philosophy became fashionable again through rave culture. The hippie ideology resurfaced in a way with its strong
    interest in the exotic and the alternative, the tribal character and the ancient spirituality. In fact, Goa in India became a cult site for raves in the 1990s.
    The same beach was a destination for hippies in the 1960s. Several music releases called “Goa trance” with a little “acid” music have been on the market since the mid-1990s. In Rave music we find slogans like “Save the Earth”, “Love and Peace” and the like. The Disc jockey was a central figure in rave culture. A very famous slogan in the rave culture was “PLUR”, which stands for Peace, Love, Unity and Respect.

    Eigtveds warehouse
    So, there was a hiss through the approx. 200 participants when the strobe light furiously changed the large, old storage space in the port of Copenhagen with its 250-year-old, mighty oak beams and stockwork into a weightless mini-universe, where up and down dissolved, and the throbbing rhythms pressed the eardrums to the bottom. Suddenly, the formal line-up of people in rows of chairs was replaced by a swarming tangle of young people, dancing, leaping, caressing, staring and challenging. In between the rows, on the lap, on the backs of the chairs. Everywhere they were. All the time with the hammering, intense rhythm in their bodies. They were painted with colors, gold and silver and they were at once a little scary and enticing. Some were naked, which confused some of the meeting participants. As one noted after the session, which lasted approx. three quarters of an hour.
    “This could never have happened in my country or at my university. I would have been fired if I had arranged it!” remarked one of the participants to me afterwards. I do not remember which country he came from.
    Roel Heinstra said dryly that he would prefer the classical music that he sang in his choir in Groningen. An excellent choir, by the way. I’ve heard it myself. It bears no resemblance to what we experienced here in Copenhagen.
    The 150 rave decibels ripped and whined in all ears long after, sparking wild discussion. But that was what was meant. How much do we know about the young people we train teachers and educators to teach, educate and develop? How much do we know about their values, dreams, ideas and cultures?
    I also believe that that experience marked the concluding conference dinner at Højvangseminariet. There was wild music, performances by Danish artists, many of the conference participants came on stage, the dance floor was filled to bursting point and the party did not end until the morning. No drugs were taken, but the bar was empty after the party.


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