Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Rise and Fall of an International Counterculture, 1960–1975

By our very own Jeremi Suri...

" In the decades after World War II, cultural rebellion became common again in urbanized industrial societies—capitalist and communist—where groups of young citizens articulated feelings of “alienation.” Rock music, beat poetry, and abstract expressionist art voiced common criticisms of how the pressures of social conformity destroyed individualism. Through these media, and others, many European and American youth sought to reassert their individuality and their connection to something they viewed as “nature,” as opposed to the “unnatural” industrial world advertised around them. Similarly, advocates of free living, free love, and free drugs claimed that they were returning human beings to the pursuit of pleasure, rather than state‐manipulated wealth and power. By the early 1960s, these cultural critiques had attained widespread public recognition on both sides of the Atlantic. They were oppositional, but they were not overtly politically threatening—at least not yet."


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