This included the black civil rights, repressed attitudes to sex with the evolution of the free love movement this sought to change the conservative attitudes to sexual behaviour, gay liberation and the feminist movements worked to change the attitudes that people were not entitled to live their lives the way they wanted to. The counter-cultural movement seemed to involve but not exclusively the young. These children of the post war period had prospects and advantages that were much greater than anything that their parents could have experienced, so they wanted to live their lives in a less restrictive environment than their parents.
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’. i?? i?? BETTY FRIEDAN, (1963) The Feminine Mystic, London, Gallancz, pp. 9, 337-8 i?? 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.
The final group was deeply troubled by the developments but still believed that science could be used to bring good to humanity. Roszak argued that the public were being controlled and dictated to by the scientists. Scientists justified their actions and by providing us with items that make our life easier i. e. washing machines they were lulling society into a false sense of security. He argued that people needed to stop thinking about what makes our life easier and begin to think ethically and decide what sort of world we were letting science create.
He argued that if the scientist were left unchecked were where gambling with the extermination of our species. Scientists were heckled and some scientists who were involved in the more extreme areas of science had to employ body guards to protect themselves from the more extreme groups. The attitudes of the time regarding technology and nuclear weapons were one of fear and this fear was much more justified during this period with the threat of the cold war.There were many antiwar films and writings against nuclear weapons and the scientist’s involved with the making of these weapons. From the argument against the unethical attitudes of science and scientists, there emerged another counter-cultural movement that argued for the acceptance of women in science. They had previously been kept on the outskirts of science due to the mainstream belief that women lacked the ambition at home and also at work. The feminist scientists believed that women could play a bigger part and also bring a more humane ethos to science.
A motherly role that men could not hope to fulfil. In her article ‘Women in science: Why so few? ‘ Alice. S. Rossi argued that the attitudes needed to change not just within the scientific community but also within the schools; Young girls needed to be encouraged as they would be the ones that would be advancing the scientific fields. These different cultures did not make up a whole, each group was not set to bring about the demise of science but helped to advance it. What they were on a whole was a counter-culture.
All the different counter-cultures had different ideals and I was unable to place them, unlike Roszak as one whole, they where separate and I feel must be regarded as such. CONCLUSION I have found this question very difficult to deal with. I have found it hard to clearly define the mainstream and counter-cultures and the components of the 1960’s society that makes up each society. Indeed I found it even more difficult to see them as two separate movements. I have to disagree with Roszak, I found that there were many diverse groups, some big, some small, organised and unorganised.
These groups were reacting against the existing social foundations, some which had been around for hundreds of years, that there were not united. Counter-culture was not a movement as such but merely groups of people who had their own views and just wanted them to be heard. Each counter-culture grew out of the mainstreams discontent, they took a particular part of society that they did not agree with and set about changing it. Each group had its own theories on how to change the aspects they did not like and due to this counter-culture could be classed as a movement of change.The problem with that is that there were many different groups who all had their own ideas on how to enforce that change.
Roszak was the person who first put forward the idea of counter-culture in the 1960’s. 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.BIBLIOGRAPHY A103 Set Book, Illustration Book (2005) The Open University A103 Set Book, Resource Book 4 (2005) The Open University A103 Set Book, Block 6 -The sixties: Mainstream Culture and Counter-Culture, (2005) The Open University Joanna Murphy TMA 08 Y152858X A103.