Dark Carnival And Juggalo Heaven: Inside The Liminal World Of Insane Clown Posse

Karen Bettez Halnon


Horrorcore rap group Insane Clown Posse (ICP) has been widely misunderstood. In 2012 the FBI profiled ICP fans as a gang. In January 2014, ICP and the ACLU sued the FBI in Detroit Federal Court. This sociological account is offered as a timely debunking report that exemplifies the sociological axiom that things are often quite different than presumed. The paper is based on over ten years of concert fieldwork observation, hundreds of informal interviews with Juggalos, a band interview, and in-depth music media analysis. Utilizing carnival concepts, thick descriptions and abundant quotation, it provides an intimate outsider view of a carnival culture that may be more accurately understood as an outcast family offering acceptance and belonging, identity reversal, ethical guidance, and challenge to inequalities in the body politic. The paper concludes with a cautionary comment about possible consequences of criminalization.


Keywords:  Insane Clown Posse, Juggalos, carnival, outcast, criminalization, debunking

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14738/assrj.12.94


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