Popular Culture of 1970s
In general, popular culture comprises inspirations, outlooks, viewpoints, attitudes, mannerisms, images, and various phenomena that characterize a particular given culture. Specifically, such given cultures comprise the Western culture evident within the 20th century, and the sprouting universal mainstream illustrated at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. Popular culture defines and illustrates the routine ongoings within a particular society. Understanding the popular culture provides individuals with intellect based on application of critical theory perspective in the study of communication and cultural lingo within a particular culture. One of the main popular cultures under scrutiny is the 1970s popular culture. An analysis of the 1970s leads to a reasonable framework for understanding popular culture even though popular culture on its own is not a sufficient historical tool as it has both strengths and limitations.
Understanding popular culture involves the study and scrutiny of various cultural objet d’art that describe a particular culture. These cultural relics range in various entities from game shows, jeans, dresses, newspapers and various other objects that are innate of a respective culture under study. In addition, understanding the popular culture involves looking at the ways in which people belonging to a particular culture utilize, abuse, destabilize and attach meaning and importance to relics, products or services that an industrialized capitalist society produces (Fiske, 21). From such deductions, understanding the popular culture innate within the 1970s is possible through the deciphering of the period, which outlined the form of the contemporary American culture. Consequently, deciphering the 1970s involves assessing the various forms of relics that defined the period.
The 1970s represent the period that ranged from the first day of January in 1970 to the last day of December in 1979. The introduction of cultural artifacts such as films resulted in distribution of information and knowledge that they contained in their portrayal of popular culture in the 1970s. Popular films such as The Godfather series and Saturday Night Fever provided insight on the Mafia underworld and the introduction of the Disco mania throughout America and the rest of the world (Kaufman, 141). Rock music and its subsequent genres allow for understanding of popular culture through the element of music within the American society. Currently, rock music describes the American culture. The rise of artists such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Lynyrd Skynyrd within the rock genre set the pace for the genre as an essential in defining the American culture (Kaufman, 160). Through decoding popular elements in the 1970s, understanding popular culture is possible.
Furthermore, this decade witnessed the culmination of an entirely different society based on the various forms of influential media that characterized the chronological phase. Throughout the West, values aimed at social progression continually increased based on the introduction of Civil Rights and Feminist Movements. Additionally, the 1970s characterized the augmentation of the environmentalist movements and growth of the Hippie Culture, which involved protests against capitalism, government authority, nuclear weaponry and the Vietnam (Kaufman, 202). Thus, understanding these elements allows one to comprehend the Protest culture evident in American society.
For a considerable part, deciphering popular culture has proved essential in understanding the 1970s. By pointing out the elements that defined the 1970s such as the Hippie Culture, the Mass Activism and the Progression for Social Values, understanding the popular culture in the decade is possible. However, using popular culture as a tool in deciphering the 1970s possesses its own negative aspects that criticize the effectiveness of popular culture as a tool for understanding particular history in general. One of the main criticisms against popular culture is the triviality and desperation to discover irrelevant relationships between cultural artifacts and the society in understanding history.
A major strength that people associate with popular culture in deciphering the historical period is the inclusion and study of specific and unique elements that define the period. For instance, analyzing popular culture in the 1970s required the discovery and research of certain cultural facets that were not evident in other periods but present in the decade. For instance, the rise of the Hippie Culture, the Introduction of Rock music and the Introduction of the Disco considerably defined the popular culture in the 1970s. Another strength involving the use of popular culture as a historical tool for the 1970s is its integration in academic dialogue. Combining popular culture with historical nuances provide historians and sociologists with the ability to study various elements of the decade such as the Progression of the Society, providing the platform to understand society on a systematic and scientific basis.
However, utilizing popular culture also possesses weaknesses. For instance, using popular culture undermines historians’ credibility in researching the 1970s. Since some of the cultural artifacts they possess define periods, informal individuals decipher the decade based on their own understanding. Subsequently, using popular culture as a historical tool for assessing the 1970s is prejudicial in the sense that it people transform and conform it in order to gain acceptance throughout the mainstream (Fiske, 57). As such, popular culture in the 1970s becomes superficial, tainted and corrupted based on the use of the culture to market vain and socially unacceptable activities such as drug abuse and rebellion.
Fiske, John. Understanding Popular Culture. London: Routledge, 2010. Print.
Kaufman, Will. American Culture in the 1970s. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009. Print.
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