What was the counterculture?

1 Answer
Aug 27, 2016

It was a culture predominantly of the 1960's.


The counterculture was a reaction to and a rejection of the post war culture in the West, most noticeably in the USA.

It rejected the mores, norms and values of previous generations. Gone was the automatic acceptance of the existing culture and that of the previous generation. It looked at alternative ways of life and values.

It expressed itself in many ways. There was the music and film culture of the time, with psychedelic rock, the growth of a rock/pop culture in general, experimentation with Eastern cultures vis a vis the Beatles, and films such as Easy Rider.

In literature there was One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey who led his Merry Pranksters across America. Poets such as Allen Ginsberg were further examples appearing on Bob Dylan's video for Subterranean Homesick Blues.

The use of hallucinogetic drugs was also a significant part of the counterculture and their influence on a range from music to poetry and films. Songs such as White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane and the Beatles Sgt Pepper are examples.

Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival were two rock/music festivals which epitomised this culture.

The Vietnam War also had an impact adding to the rejection of existing assumptions as the full force of America's technology was brought to bear with terrible consequences.

The counterculture petered out as the 60's drew to a close. The Stones' disastrous concert at Altamont. and the Manson murders reflected a darker side which in turn led to the emergence of the New Right as the 70's progressed.