What is Counterculture definition/concept

Some fashions, social movements or intellectual currents are characterized by their radical opposition to the dominant culture. Such trends express their concerns about conventional cultural values ​​and, for this reason, there is talk of counterculture.

The term counterculture in Portuguese is a literal translation from English, that is, more specifically the word counterculture. From a historical point of view, the creator of the counterculture label was the American Theodore Roszak.

General characteristics of the counterculture

– Those who promote this type of manifestation express their social nonconformism . Thus, the hippies of the 60s had a lifestyle opposed to consumerism, capitalism’s own values ​​and society‘s moral values. counterculture

– These movements initially have a marginal, oppositional and radical component. Rockers of the 50s and punks of the 70s were urban tribes whose aesthetics were considered subversive by large sectors of society. Over time, both movements adapted to conventional culture.

– The ideal of freedom is predominant in this type of current. In this sense, the North American writers of the Beat Generation defended drug use and sexual freedom as flags and, in parallel, they were against the American model of life: the American way of life.

– Most countercultural manifestations incorporate several elements: a determined aesthetic, a type of music and an alternative life model.

– Counterculture is usually associated with youth (sometimes the young people who oppose the conventional are university students and sometimes are minority groups on the outskirts of big cities).

Many countercultural movements emerged in the 1960s

In the 60s there were several episodes that, in large part, can explain the emergence of various countercultural currents. Some of them were: the Vietnam War, the disappointment of many sectors of the left because of Soviet totalitarianism, the struggle for civil rights in the United States and the philosophical criticism of the capitalist model. All these elements created a new social conscience and a spirit of rebellion.

Following this line, we can recall several events:

1) in May 68, in France, several students sympathized with Maoism, an alternative communist current to the Soviet one;

2) student riots in the United States opposed the Vietnam War and racial segregation;

3) Spanish university students expressed discontent against the Franco regime and the 1968 Mexican student movement opposed the police repression against university students.

Freud and the counterculture

Freud is the main thinker to understand the 20th century and some of its cultural and countercultural manifestations. For him, culture generates a certain malaise throughout society, as it ends up imposing a majority and oppressive model that leads the individual to alienation.

This silent imposition generates non-conformism in some social sectors and from there arises the need to create new heterodox currents inspired by freedom and contrary to traditional culture .

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