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A103_TMA08 The Sixties

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How useful is the term 'cultural revolution' when applied to the sixties? The sixties are definitely remembered by its generation as a time of significant change. Many associate the period fondly with memories of groups such as The Beatles and The Kinks, at the same time remembering the many protests and movements that hoped to change the ideas and values of society. In answer to whether the term 'cultural revolution' is useful when applied to the sixties, study of these disciplines is most certainly necessary. Despite the period of study being only a matter of decades from present day, we still face the same problems any historian would face given the same question applied to a time centuries ago. The validity of the sources is of utmost importance; fortunately in regards to the music of the sixties we have records from the time, and charts to show the popularity of groups and artists. In regards to the field of science, there is a great variety of primary source material due to the nature of the profession. One could safely assume that the documented research and findings were indeed accurate and reliable information from educated professionals. Science in the sixties is very much associated with protests, surprisingly not only by rebellious radicals but respected public figures and people at the top of their fields and professional careers. ...read more.


The grievance was more than the issue that there were few women working in the science field, but also that the majority who had been successful in pursuing a career in science weren't able to sustain their posts. A study by Rossi in 1965 showed that compared to males, more females across a range of occupations voluntarily left their posts, more so in the field of science. The study also showed that women counted for only 10% of individuals who worked in science. It was findings like this that began movements for the cause of 'women's liberation' and were a sign of changing times and a revolution in the role of women who sought for the same rights to education and employment opportunities as men. It was also two women in science who played a major role in revolutionizing ideas about the human embryo. Lenz and Kelsey's research went against all that previously been believed about pregnant women and their unborn children. They're research tackled and exposed the ignorance of traditional practices; primarily challenging the idea at the time, that what didn't harm the pregnant mother, couldn't harm her child. Through their insistence that babies react differently to drugs, nicotine, alcohol etc, they radically transformed neonatal studies. When applied to the struggle for women to be acknowledged in the field of science, the term 'cultural revolution' is extremely useful, because movements in the sixties paved the way for more women into education. ...read more.


The women's liberation could be a reaction to women resenting their return to domestic duties and pre WWII lifestyle, after having filled the roles of men in the workplace when manpower was limited. The seventies also played their part in this cultural change; despite the rise of feminism and gay rights initiating in the late sixties, they didn't fully come into fruition until the seventies. However, in spite of the roles the fifties and seventies played in what is seen as a 'cultural revolution', the sixties is undoubtedly synonymous with all that was radical and new at that time. In conclusion, having only looked at two disciplines, it leaves us limited to answer whether the sixties were indeed a 'cultural revolution'. However, in regards to the examples we've seen in both the fields of music and science, there is certainly proof that the sixties were a significant time for change. Its impossible to know for certain whether these changes would have taken place if not for situations and circumstances that arose during the sixties, and whether they were in fact just a consequence of a nation recovering from war. Despite this, the term 'cultural revolution' is certainly useful when applied to the sixties in a number of examples; attitudes to authority were challenged, women gained greater access into education and music appeared to unite and give voice to rebellious protesters who sought a change in ideas and values. ...read more.

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