Causes and Consequences of the Counter-culture Movement
In the 1960s there was an anti-establishment cultural phenomenon that engulfed the United States and the United Kingdom, a social revolution of the youth spreading to South America, Australia, New Zealand and the rest of North America and Western Europe. This movement is described by many historians as a meeting of social forces that together created a unique phenomenon; termed a counterculture movement by Theodore Roszak. The range, scope, potential and significance of this anti-establishment would only be realized as the 1960s drew on and the intensity of social movement escalated. The sixties was an era of great cultural and social upheaval by mass mobilization on the basis of many social issues the causes and consequences of this era however remain contested.
According to Melisa Kidari, among other, the most prominent causes of the entire anti-establishment movement may be attributed more to social and political than economic factors, and include the demographics of the baby boomers, disassociation of the youth, anti-war sentiment, the Cold War Atmosphere television’s coming of age and the media, and the US Civil Rights Movement1. The growth of psychology as well as the experimentation with the arts and psychedelic drugs also affected the counterculture movement as well as the course of the anti-establishment movement in an unexpected manner. Roszak argued that the science-based, rational society of the twentieth century alienated individuals, especially the youth who were born into a society with an existential crisis after World War II.2 According to the interview conducted with , the hippie or counterculture movement was characterised by a certain lifestyle. Explains that in the counterculture movement, the goal was to bring about a change in society according to the norms practiced by the hippies as advocated, such as free love for all, the use of drugs for a different mind-set, ecological values. For her, there was never a time of greater change, as it seemed that reality was speeding up and reaching a climax. Social factors of the Countercultural Movement
Post-World War II Period
The causes of the Baby Boom of the 1940’s is described by historians as a desire for normalcy after 16 years of depression and war, while others ascribe it to an anti-communistic strategy to outnumber the communistic world. Nevertheless, as the baby boomers reached young adulthood and became socially conscious, they became a notable factor in American society as such a large generation in social cohesion is a force great change, according to Terry Anderson3. A decade after the end of World War II, many young Americans had come to despise the identity of their country. This group of people is known as the Beat Generation, or the Beatniks, they completely rejected the materialistic society advertised and institutionalised by public and media industries as well as the far reaching hand of institution. The beats, along with prominent figures such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, advocated an alternative way of thinking and many other values embraced by the hippies such as a lifestyle advocating the use of drugs4. The beats directly influenced the counterculture movement, as most values pursued by hippies were originally the values of beats. While the beats of the 1950’s were a restrictive group of mostly idealist writers, the counterculture movement spread to thousands of youths, most notably from the middle class, to shake the USA as no other youth movement before. There is however a widespread interpretation of historians of the counterculture movement as the reaction of spoilt youths seeking fun to distract from their boring over-confident lives in apprehension of the viewpoint of the countercultural movement as an alternative consciousness5. In the 1960s. The United States economy was prosperous, and purchasing power of the middle class youth increased...
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