Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Kim Clark


Based on fieldwork in Toronto, ON, I use ethnographic methods and analysis to answer the question of why people at electronic music events (‘raves’) and festivals use legal and illegal psychoactive drugs, exploring how the subjective effects of consciousness alteration factor into individual and group experiences of affective change. I examine the effects of stigma on the lives of these ‘drug practitioners’, as well as how the structures of prohibition shape the ways in which recreational substances are able to be consumed safely, resulting in a moral economy of trust and a culture of interreliance in the rave scene. Finally, I look at how mutually dependent practices of both harm reduction and ‘benefit enhancement’ are socially integrated into this community, and how this knowledge can be mobilized to improve harm reduction policy and practice.