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Counterculture - Essay Example

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The counter-culture is the cultural counterpart of of political opposition. This is a new sociological term coined by Theodore Roszak, an American social thinker, whose writings are frequently linked with the "alternative or " "new age" movements. It is Roszak who narrated and explained the European and North American counterculture of the 1960s in his book The Making of a Counter Culture (1969). However, mentions about the term also exist in earlier times, as Stein Rokkan in his models in political science, used the expression to depict the fight of the marginal against the authoritative mainstream central state-and nation-building and that kind of cultural homogenization in 1967 (Alford et al, 1974).
Loosely speaking, countercultural trends are prsent in many societies, but what Roszak et al here means is a more important and noticeable trend, reaching a significant target for a certain span of time, a movement expressing the culture, hopes and dreams of a paricular group of people during an epoch - a social expression of zeitgeist, the typical spirit of a historical epoch in its entirety (Zeit contains the sense of "era"), the idea is derived from the belief that the time has a objective meaning and is instilled with content In this sense Countercultural ambiances in 19th century Europe took in the Romantic, Bohemian and the Dandy movements (Dictionary of the History, ). Another movement in the 1950's, Beat generation/Beatniks also had traces of counter culture in it, followed in the 1960s by the hippies. The term 'counterculture' became important in the news media as it referred to the social revolution swaying North America, Western Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand during the 1960s and early 1970s (Roszak, 1969).
In modern history of the western world (and for that matter, the world in its entireity) countreculture is often placed synonymouly with the turbulent decades of the 1960os and 1970's that was, accoding to Roszak, a social and political response to the pretense of the mainstream worldly culture from which it rose. In the The Making of a Counter Culture he handles rather truthfully the tensions, problems and incongruities connected with the ascent of the counterculture and the inherent problems it had with it to ultimately heralding for the worldly normal culture. History, no doubt, shows that the philosophy of the 1960s was squashed by the crushing attack of the system and the political and social values of the counterculture finally joined into the realm of private philosophies of hippies as absorbed into the mainstream. Yet while earlier studies on the sixties focus mainly on the "hippie" era, or on the sex, the drugs, and the music, Roszak focuses mostly on the political and social issues of the time including everything from the Vietnam War to how the effect of counter culture on lifestyles of an average American family. He assesses thoroughly the bond between the late 1960's counterculture to avant-garde intellectual ideas of the same age, discussing those of Herbert Marcuse and Norman Brown, among others, in great detail to show clearly how their ideas affected the intellectual and political movements on college campuses in both America and Europe with a remarkable insight especially considering that he wrote The Making of a Counter Culture almost on the same time while the events were still expanding.
The counter culture of the 1960's and the 1970's, Roszak shows us, was ...Show more


Counterculture (also "counter-culture") depicts the values and behaviorioral attitudes of a cultural group finding shared solution to problems arising from impeded hopes and wishes of its members or their uncertain place in the wider ("mainstream") society…
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