An Affluent Society 1953-1960

Jordan Mewbourn, Kailey Dempsey and Ashley Patrick

Mass Society and Its Critics

- McCarthyism

1957, political scientist Hans J Margenthou stated that " new enterprise had created "new accumulations" of power, " as dangerous to the freedom of the individual as the power of the government had ever been"

Unequal power in america. Sociologist C. Wright Mills challenged the self satisfied vision of democratic pluralism that dominated mainstream social science in the 1950s. He explained the "power of elite- an interlocking directorate of corporate leaders, politicians, and military men who's domination of government and society had made political democracy obsolete." Mills refers to America as not being able to make our own decisions and that we relied too heavily on government or not given the proper chance to.

The Lonely Crowd, written by David Reisman, described America of being " conformists jwho lacked the inner resources to lead truly independent lives."

The Affluent Society by Kenneth Galbraith wrote how America neglected the proper investments schools, parks, and public services, while spending unnecessary amounts of money on commercial products.

Overall the suburban life became wildy popular but some deemed it to cause empitiness in an area promised happiness.

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Rebels Without a Cause

Cultural life during the 1950's seemed far more daring than politics. Many adults found the emergence of a mass-marketed teenage culture that rejected middle class norms more alarming than the actual increase in juvenile arrests. With leather jackets, rock and roll and hard-drive rhythms, various changes had arose. The emergence of popular culture geared toward the youth market laying beneath the bland surface of 1950's life. J.D. Salinger's film "A Rebel With a Cause" highlighted the alienation of young people from the work of adult respectability.

The Beats

  • the beats were a group of poets, and writers
  • the main places these occurred in was New York City and San Francisco, and some small college towns
  • Jack Kerouac came up with the term "beat" which came from the phrases "beaten down" and "beatified"
  • a specific example of a Beat author is Allen Ginsberg who wrote Howl in 1955
  • he got well known when the San Francisco police took his book and banned it, arresting book store owners who chose to still sell it (this was later overturned by a judge )