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Arthur Marwick argues that the sixties were characterised by the counter-cultural movements across a number of areas. Do you think that this view is supported by the evidence?

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Introduction

Arthur Marwick argues that the sixties were characterised by the counter-cultural movements across a number of areas. Do you think that this view is supported by the evidence? Over the course of this assignment I will draw on examples from the disciplines that I have chosen. History, history of science and history of art. Due to the constraints of my word limit I will only be looking at two or three examples from each subject. For my conclusion I will choose the events that relate best to the impact of counter-culture may or may not have had. When we are looking at the 1960's, we must consider what the sixties consists of. The sixties society is different from the societies of today but when you look at them we realise that many of the things taken for granted in today's cultural environment stems from that era. Periodization is a device used by historians to organise and categorize the huge amounts of history into smaller more manageable chunks. This means that in a way centuries and decades are used a convenient periodizations, although the points of change do not naturally coincide with these man made points of time. The events that take place within a natural period contain a pattern, i.e. the attitudes, values and social hierarchies within the periodization are all connected. The sixties could be considered as part of a longer period of post war recovery. Also many important changes occurred in the fifties and the seventies that were closely related to the events of the 1960's. ...read more.

Middle

They believed they could change things and they were going to change it: 'Young people suddenly had an important voice; they were being listened to, followed even'.� �BETTY FRIEDAN, (1963) The Feminine Mystic, London, Gallancz, pp.9, 337-8 �MAUREEN NOLAN & ROMA SINGLETON, From Sara Maitland (1988), Very Heaven: Looking back to the 1960's, London, pp.20, 24, 25 HISTORY OF SCIENCE To look at the counter-culture of science accurately we need to look at was considered mainstream at the time and the reaction that the counter-cultural had towards this. I will be looking at the two main movements of the time, technological advances and the dehumanisation of science. I will also be looking at the acceptance of women into the scientific field. These have been chosen because there are good representations of the general feeling at the time. Theodore Roszak's 'The Making of a counter-culture' and Edward Shil's 'Anti-science (Resource book 4) showed how science was coming under attack, this showed that people accused science of concentrating on the development of destructive weapons to harm rather than to help the human race. The universities of the time were mainly funded by governments in return for expensive research into developing weapons of mass destruction. These concerns were voiced by President Eisenhower, a man considered the most mainstream you could get along with the more radical aspects of society. Within Edward Shil's findings we are presented with three main counter-culture groups opposing the destructive capabilities of science. One of the more extreme groups believed that science was evil and destructive; another less radical group argued that science was not evil but it had destructive capabilities and needed to change. ...read more.

Conclusion

People read his work and believed that they were part of one society that was challenging and brining about the devise of the mainstream. There was lots of protesting and it was not purely the young that where challenging the ideas of the mainstream, the Negroes, women, and gays all wanted change. Other groups that were affected were the ones who had their human rights suppressed or felt that they could change the world that they lived in for the better for themselves and for future generations. I found it impossible to define each facet of the counter-culture, giving that each had their own characteristics. A person can posses a number of the ideals of the culture but still be pigeonholed into one particular one. Counter-culture is a group or a single person that brings something new, whether it is in reaction to mainstream culture or in a series of practices that are modern. It can however be possible for counter-culture to become mainstream and vice-versa. This is due to changing of times and values. The closer I have come to drawing a definite conclusion, the harder I seem to find it and the less appropriate the terms become. I disagree with Marwick that the sixties were characterised by the counter-cultural movements. I say this because it is impossible to define a movement under blanket terms as a counter-culture can mean many different things. The counter-culture of the times was not opposed to the mainstream culture of the sixties as there was no direct opposite that I can see. The mainstream ideals changed from the groups the same as the counter-culture changed within the different groups. ...read more.

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