The American Counterculture

By Neal, Arthur G. | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), June 2008 | Go to article overview

The American Counterculture


Neal, Arthur G., Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


The American Counterculture Christopher Gain Edinburgh University Press, 2007.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One concentrates on elaborations of the American counterculture between the years of 1945 and 1960. Part Two focuses on the years 1961-72. The emphasis of the book was on how the aesthetics of the counterculture were played out in music, fiction, film, and paintings. The author points out that history is not neatly divided into decade-like segments. There is necessarily selectivity in what is included and what is excluded in a book of this type.

Following the turbulence of the Great Depression and World War II, the nation was ready for a return to normality and stability. By the 1950s Americans were buying television sets and watching programs involving situation comedies, westerns, drama, and depiction of families in everyday life. Developments in print and recording technology contributed to the emergence of mass markets for art and music. Advances in radio technology allowed a growing number of teenagers to have ready access to their own kind of music. The economic prosperity of post war America permitted the elaboration of many aspects of popular culture as well as the social experimentation that accompanied an emerging counterculture.

The author defines the counterculture so broadly that it encompasses a great deal of the field of popular culture. The basis for including discussions of Elvis Presley, Jackson Pollock, and the movie High Noon as examples of counterculture is puzzling to this reviewer. The author fails to develop an explicit conception of the counterculture, but instead provides a general review of popular culture in the United States during the 1950s and the 1960s. While his central concept lacks clarification, discussions of the conflicts surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, the "Summer of Love" in Haight-Ashbury, and Woodstock in upstate New York are clear examples of how the dominant cultural values of American society were turned upside down and rejected.

The tension between individualistic and collective goals could not be resolved in the American counterculture. It was difficult to find an appropriate discourse for social protest and to express reservations about the generally positive views Americans held of their increasing economic prosperity. A great deal of the cultural productions of the 1950s was focused on the many aspects of alienation in modern social life. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The American Counterculture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.