Special Subject: Post-Rave Britain, 1988-Present, Part A (V1460A)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

This module uses the emergence of rave both as a specific historic moment in British popular culture (1985-95), but also as a paradigm that contains within it a range of themes, concepts and strategies that account for many of the major developments in Britain’s social and cultural evolution since the 1980s. Rather than treat popular culture as a separate adjunct, or as a curiosity to be tacked on to the more "serious" matter of understanding social and cultural change, the module places transformations in popular culture at the heart of analysing historical processes at work in contemporary Britain.

Part A of the Special Subject explores in some depth the rave explosion of 1985-1995, explaining its history, and charting its distinctive features, whether that be as subculture, moral panic, autonomous counter-culture or aesthetic style. It uses the example of rave to crystallize our understanding of a series of crucial transformative processes, expressed in the concept of "post-rave".

Part B of the Special Subject then takes a longer view of British history from the mid-1990s to the present. It applies the "post-rave" paradigm to a series of case-studies that saw conflicts over the reconfiguration of the everyday in ways that would have wide consequences for the nature of contemporary British society. Through these case-studies, we will address issues of race and sexual identity, the significance of radical activism, the reconfiguration of local space,and the meanings of retro and nostalgia.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: