Counterculture

Counterculture

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Counterculture'
Start a new discussion about 'Counterculture'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Counterculture is a sociological
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture
Subculture
In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.- Definition :...

, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition. Counterculture can also be described as a group whose behavior deviates from the societal norm. It is a neologism attributed to Theodore Roszak
Theodore Roszak (scholar)
Theodore Roszak was professor emeritus of history at California State University, East Bay. He is best known for his 1969 text, The Making of a Counter Culture.-Background:...

. Although distinct countercultural undercurrents have existed in many societies, here the term refers to a more significant, visible phenomenon that reaches critical mass and persists for a period of time. A countercultural movement expresses the ethos, aspirations, and dreams of a specific population during an era—a social manifestation of zeitgeist
Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist is "the spirit of the times" or "the spirit of the age."Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.The...

.
It is important to distinguish between "counterculture," "subculture," and "fringe culture".

Countercultural milieux in 19th-century Europe included Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, Bohemianism
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

, and the Dandy
Dandy
A dandy is a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of Self...

. Another movement existed in a more fragmentary form in the 1950s, both in Europe and the United States, in the form of the Beat generation
Beat generation
The Beat Generation refers to a group of American post-WWII writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired...

, followed in the 1960s by the hippies and anti-Vietnam War protesters.

The term came to prominence in the news media, as it was used to refer to the social revolution that swept North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 during the 1960s and early 1970s.

Sixties and seventies counterculture



In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the counterculture of the 1960s became identified with the rejection of conventional social norms of the 1950s. Counterculture youth rejected the cultural standards of their parents, especially with respect to racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 and initial widespread support for the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the counterculture of the 1960s was mainly a reaction against the social norms of the 1940s and 1950s, although "Ban the Bomb" protests centered around opposition to nuclear weaponry.

As the 1960s progressed, widespread tensions developed in American society that tended to flow along generational lines regarding the war in Vietnam, race relations, sexual mores
Sexual revolution
The sexual revolution was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s into the 1980s...

, women's rights, traditional modes of authority, and a materialist interpretation of the American Dream
American Dream
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each...

. White, middle-class youth — who made up the bulk of the counterculture — had sufficient leisure time to turn their attention to social issues
Social issues
Social issues are controversial issues which relate to people's personal lives and interactions. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues...

. These social issues included support for civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

, women's rights, and gay rights
LGBT social movements
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender social movements share inter-related goals of social acceptance of sexual and gender minorities. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies have a long history of campaigning for what is generally called LGBT rights, also called gay...

 movements, and a rejection of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. Hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

s became the largest countercultural group in the United States. The counterculture also had access to a media eager to present their concerns to a wider public. Demonstrations for social justice created far-reaching changes affecting many aspects of society.
Rejection of mainstream culture was best embodied in the new genres of psychedelic
Psychedelic
The term psychedelic is derived from the Greek words ψυχή and δηλοῦν , translating to "soul-manifesting". A psychedelic experience is characterized by the striking perception of aspects of one's mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ostensibly...

 rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

, pop-art and new explorations in spirituality. Musicians who exemplified this era include The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane was an American rock band formed in San Francisco in 1965. A pioneer of the psychedelic rock movement, Jefferson Airplane was the first band from the San Francisco scene to achieve mainstream commercial and critical success....

, Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter...

, The Doors
The Doors
The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger...

, Cream
Cream (band)
Cream were a 1960s British rock supergroup consisting of bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce, guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton, and drummer Ginger Baker...

, The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

, Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Percival Young, OC, OM is a Canadian singer-songwriter who is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation...

, Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

, and Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin
Janis Lyn Joplin was an American singer, songwriter, painter, dancer and music arranger. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist with her backing groups, The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band...

.

Sentiments were expressed in song lyrics and popular sayings of the period, such as "do your own thing," "turn on, tune in, drop out
Turn on, tune in, drop out
"Turn on, tune in, drop out" is a counterculture phrase popularized by Timothy Leary in 1967. Leary spoke at the Human Be-In, a gathering of 30,000 hippies in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and uttered the famous phrase, "Turn on, tune in, drop out". In a 1988 interview with Neil Strauss, Leary...

", "whatever turns you on," "Eight miles high
Eight Miles High
"Eight Miles High" is a song by the American rock band The Byrds, written by Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn, and David Crosby and first released as a single on March 14, 1966 . The single managed to reach the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 and the Top 30 of the UK Singles Chart...

", and
"light my fire." Spiritually, the counterculture included interest in astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

, the term "Age of Aquarius
Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius is either the current or new age in the cycle of astrological ages. Each astrological age is approximately 2,150 years long, on average, but there are various methods of calculating this length that may yield longer or shorter time spans depending upon the technique used...

" and knowing people's signs
Zodiac
In astronomy, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude which are centred upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year...

. This led Theodore Roszak to state "A [sic] eclectic taste for mystic, occult, and magical phenomena has been a marked characteristic of our postwar youth culture since the days of the beatniks."

The counterculture in the United States reached its peak between 1966 and the early 1970s. It eventually waned for several reasons: mainstream America's disdain for unrepentant hedonism and conspicuous drug use, and the troubles caused by these excesses; the death of many notable countercultural figures; the end of the Vietnam War; and the end of Civil Rights protests following passage of remedial legislation. The counterculture continues to influence social movements, art and society in general.
Unconventional appearance, music, drugs, communitarian experiments, and sexual liberation were hallmarks of the sixties counterculture, most of whose members were white, middle-class young Americans. To some Americans, these attributes reflected American ideals of free speech, equality, and pursuit of happiness. Other people saw the counterculture as self-indulgent, pointlessly rebellious, unpatriotic, and destructive of America's moral order.

Authorities banned the psychedelic drug LSD, restricted political gatherings, and tried to enforce bans on what they considered obscenity in books, music, theater, and other media. Parents argued with their children and worried about their safety. Some adults accepted elements of the counterculture, while others became estranged from sons and daughters.

In 1967 thousands of young people flocked to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. The counterculture lifestyle integrated many of the ideals and indulgences of the time: peace, love, harmony, music, and mysticism. Meditation, yoga, and psychedelic drugs were embraced as routes to expanding one's consciousness.

In Toronto, Canada, the Yorkville
Yorkville, Toronto
Yorkville is a district in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, well known for its shopping. It is a former village, annexed by the City of Toronto. It is roughly bounded by Bloor Street to the south, Davenport Road to the north, Yonge Street to the east and Avenue Road to the west, and is considered part of...

 district served as a kind of Haight-Ashbury North, serving as another major hippie and musical crossroads.

Counterculture literature


The counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s generated its own unique brand of notable literature, including comics and cartoons, and sometimes referred to as the underground press
Underground press
The underground press were the independently published and distributed underground papers associated with the counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and other western nations....

. This includes the work of Robert Crumb
Robert Crumb
Robert Dennis Crumb —known as Robert Crumb and R. Crumb—is an American artist, illustrator, and musician recognized for the distinctive style of his drawings and his critical, satirical, subversive view of the American mainstream.Crumb was a founder of the underground comix movement and is regarded...

 and Gilbert Shelton
Gilbert Shelton
Gilbert Shelton is an American cartoonist and underground comix artist. He is the creator of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy's Cat, Wonder Wart-Hog, Philbert Desanex, Not Quite Dead, and the cover art to The Grateful Dead's 1978 album Shakedown Street.He graduated from Lamar High...

, and includes Mr. Natural
Mr. Natural (comics)
Mr. Natural is a comic book character created and drawn by 1960s counterculture and underground comix artist Robert Crumb. The character first appeared in the premiere issue of Yarrowstalks .-Characterization:...

; Keep on Truckin'; Fritz the Cat
Fritz the Cat
Fritz the Cat is a comic strip created by Robert Crumb. Set in a "supercity" of anthropomorphic animals, the strip focuses on Fritz, a feline con artist who frequently goes on wild adventures that sometimes involve sexcapades. Crumb began drawing this character in homemade comic books when he was a...

; Fat Freddy's Cat
Fat Freddy's Cat
Fat Freddy's Cat is a fictional orange tomcat nominally belonging to Fat Freddy Freekowtski, one of the Freak Brothers, a trio of hippies who are featured in Gilbert Shelton's underground comix.-History:...

; Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers are a trio of underground comic strip characters created by the U.S. artist Gilbert Shelton. The Freak Brothers first appeared in The Rag, an underground newspaper published in Austin, Texas, beginning in May 1968; and were regularly reprinted in underground papers...

; the album cover art for Cheap Thrills; and contributions to International Times
International Times
International Times was an underground newspaper founded in London in 1966. Editors included Hoppy, David Mairowitz, Pete Stansill, Barry Miles, Jim Haynes and playwright Tom McGrath...

, The Village Voice
The Village Voice
The Village Voice is a free weekly newspaper and news and features website in New York City that features investigative articles, analysis of current affairs and culture, arts and music coverage, and events listings for New York City...

, and Oz magazine
Oz (magazine)
Oz was first published as a satirical humour magazine between 1963 and 1969 in Sydney, Australia and, in its second and better known incarnation, became a "psychedelic hippy" magazine from 1967 to 1973 in London...

. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, these comics and magazines were available for purchase in head shop
Head shop
A head shop is a retail outlet specializing in drug paraphernalia used for consumption of cannabis, other recreational drugs, legal highs, legal party powders and New Age herbs, as well as counterculture art, magazines, music, clothing, and home decor; some head shops also sell oddities, such as...

s along with items like beads, incense, cigarette papers, tie-dye clothing, DayGlo posters, books, etc.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, some of these shops selling hippie items also became cafés where hippies could hang out, chat, smoke marijuana, read books, etc., e.g. Gandalf's Garden
Gandalf's Garden
Gandalf's Garden was a mystical community which flourished at the end of the 1960s as part of the London hippie/underground movement, running a shop and a magazine of the same name. It emphasised the mystical interests of the period, and advocated meditation in preference to drugs...

 in the Kings Road, Chelsea
Chelsea, London
Chelsea is an area of West London, England, bounded to the south by the River Thames, where its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above...

, London, which also published a magazine of the same name. Another such hippie/anarchist bookshop was Mushroom Books, tucked away in the Lace Market
Lace Market
The Lace Market is an historic quarter-mile square area of Nottingham, England.Once the heart of the world's lace industry during the days of the British Empire, it is full of impressive examples of 19th century industrial architecture and thus is a protected heritage area...

 area of Nottingham
Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender counterculture


The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 community (commonly abbreviated as the "LGBT" community), mostly evident in North America, Southern Cone, Western Europe, Australasia and South Africa, fits the definition of a countercultural movement as "a cultural group whose values and norms of behavior run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day."

At the outset of the 20th century, homosexual acts were punishable offenses in these countries. The prevailing public attitude was that homosexuality was a moral failing that should be punished, as exemplified by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

’s 1895 trial and imprisonment for "gross indecency." But even then, there were dissenting views. Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 publicly expressed his opinion that homosexuality was a perfectly normal condition for some people.[Freud, 1905]
According to Charles Kaiser’s The Gay Metropolis, there were already semi-public gay-themed gatherings by the mid-1930s in the United States (such as the annual drag
Drag (clothing)
Drag is used for any clothing carrying symbolic significance but usually referring to the clothing associated with one gender role when worn by a person of another gender. The origin of the term "drag" is unknown, but it may have originated in Polari, a gay street argot in England in the early...

 balls held during the Harlem Renaissance
Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke...

). There were also bars
Gay bar
A gay bar is a drinking establishment that caters to an exclusively or predominantly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender clientele; the term gay is used as a broadly inclusive concept for LGBT and queer communities...

 and bathhouses
Gay bathhouse
Gay bathhouses, also known as gay saunas or steam baths, are commercial bathhouses for men to have sex with other men. In gay slang in some regions these venues are also known colloquially as "the baths" or "the tubs," and should not be confused with public bathing.Not all men who visit gay...

 that catered to gay clientele and adopted warning procedures (similar to those used by Prohibition
Prohibition
Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

-era speakeasies
Speakeasy
A speakeasy, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, is an establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during the period known as Prohibition...

) to warn customers of police raids. But homosexuality was typically subsumed into bohemian
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

 culture, and was not a significant movement in itself.

Eventually, a genuine gay culture began to take root, albeit very discreetly, with its own styles, attitudes and behaviors and industries began catering to this growing demographic group. For example, publishing houses cranked out pulp novels like The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground (book)
The Velvet Underground is a paperback by journalist Michael Leigh that reports on paraphilia in the USA, published in September, 1963.Cover text: Here is an incredible book. It will shock and amaze you...

that were targeted directly at gay people. By the early 1960s, openly gay political organizations such as the Mattachine Society
Mattachine Society
The Mattachine Society, founded in 1950, was one of the earliest homophile organizations in the United States, probably second only to Chicago’s Society for Human Rights . Harry Hay and a group of Los Angeles male friends formed the group to protect and improve the rights of homosexuals...

 were formally protesting abusive treatment toward gay people, challenging the entrenched idea that homosexuality was an aberrant condition, and calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality. Despite very limited sympathy, American society began at least to acknowledge the existence of a sizable population of gays. The film The Boys in the Band
The Boys in the Band
The Boys in the Band is a 1970 American drama film directed by William Friedkin. The screenplay by Mart Crowley is based on his Off Broadway play of the same title, Crowley penned a sequel to the play years later entitled The Men From The Boys...

,
for example, featured negative portrayals of gay men, but at least recognized that they did in fact fraternize with each other (as opposed to being isolated, solitary predators who "victimized" straight men).

The watershed event in the American gay rights movement was the 1969 Stonewall riots
Stonewall riots
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City...

 in New York City. Following this event, gays and lesbians began adopting the militant protest tactics used by anti-war
Opposition to the Vietnam War
The movement against US involvment in the in Vietnam War began in the United States with demonstrations in 1964 and grew in strength in later years. The US became polarized between those who advocated continued involvement in Vietnam, and those who wanted peace. Peace movements consisted largely of...

 and black power
Black Power
Black Power is a political slogan and a name for various associated ideologies. It is used in the movement among people of Black African descent throughout the world, though primarily by African Americans in the United States...

 radicals to confront anti-gay ideology. Another major turning point was the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is the main professional organization of psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists in the United States, and the most influential worldwide. Its some 38,000 members are mainly American but some are international...

 to remove homosexuality from the official list of mental disorders. Although gay radicals used pressure to force the decision, Kaiser notes that this had been an issue of some debate for many years in the psychiatric community, and that one of the chief obstacles to normalizing homosexuality was that therapists were profiting from offering dubious, unproven "cures".

The AIDS epidemic
HIV/AIDS in the United States
[[File:New HIV Cases 22 States 2006 CDC.svg|thumb|300px|Estimated Number of New HIV Cases—22 States 2006...

 was initially an unexpected blow to the movement, especially in North America. There was speculation that the disease would permanently drive gay life underground. Ironically, the tables were turned. Many of the early victims of the disease had been openly gay only within the confines of insular 'gay ghettos' such as New York City’s Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village, , , , .in New York often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families...

 and San Francisco’s Castro); they remained closeted in their professional lives and to their families. Many heterosexuals who thought they didn't know any gay people were confronted by friends and loved ones dying of ‘the gay plague.’ The LGBT community were increasingly seen not only as victims of a disease, but as victims of ostracism and hatred. Most importantly, the disease became a rallying point for a previously complacent gay community. AIDS invigorated the community politically to fight not only for a medical response to the disease, but also for wider acceptance of homosexuality in mainstream America. Ultimately, coming out
Coming out
Coming out is a figure of speech for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people's disclosure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity....

 became an important step for many LGBT people.

In 2003, the United States Supreme Court officially declared all sodomy
Sodomy
Sodomy is an anal or other copulation-like act, especially between male persons or between a man and animal, and one who practices sodomy is a "sodomite"...

 laws unconstitutional.

Russian/Soviet counterculture


Although not exactly equivalent to the English definition, the term "Контркультура" (Kontrkul'tura, "Counterculture") became common in Russian to define a 1990s cultural movement that promoted acting outside of cultural conventions: the use of explicit language; graphical descriptions of sex, violence and illicit activities; and uncopyrighted use of "safe" characters involved in such activities.

During the early 1970s, the Soviet government rigidly promoted optimism in Russian culture. Even mild topics, such as divorce and alcohol abuse, were viewed as taboo by the media. However, Russian society grew weary of the gap between real life and the creative world, and underground culture became "forbidden fruit." General satisfaction with the quality of existing works led to parody, such as how the Russian anecdotal joke tradition turned the setting of War and Peace
War and Peace
War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in 1869. The work is epic in scale and is regarded as one of the most important works of world literature...

by Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

 into a grotesque world of sexual excess. Another well-known example is black humor (mostly in the form of short poems) that dealt exclusively with funny deaths and/or other mishaps of small, innocent children.

In the mid-1980s, the Glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 policy permitted the production of less optimistic works. As a consequence, Russian cinema during the late 1980s and the early 1990s was dominated by crime-packed action movies with explicit (but not necessarily graphic) scenes of ruthless violence and social dramas about drug abuse, prostitution and failing relationships. Although Russian movies of the time would be rated R in the United States due to violence, the use of explicit language was much milder than in American cinema.

In the late 1990s, Russian counterculture became increasingly popular on the Internet. Several websites appeared that posted user-created short stories dealing with sex, drugs and violence. The following features are considered the most popular topics in such works:
  • Wide use of explicit language;
  • Deliberate misspelling;
  • Descriptions of drug use and consequences of abuse;
  • Negative portrayals of alcohol use;
  • Sex and violence: Nothing is a taboo — in general, violence is rarely advocated, while all types of sex are considered good;
  • Parody: Media advertising, classic movies, pop culture and children's books are considered fair game;
  • Non-conformance; and,
  • Politically-incorrect topics: Mostly racism
    Racism
    Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

    , xenophobia
    Xenophobia
    Xenophobia is defined as "an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange". It comes from the Greek words ξένος , meaning "stranger," "foreigner" and φόβος , meaning "fear."...

     and homophobia
    Homophobia
    Homophobia is a term used to refer to a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards lesbian, gay and in some cases bisexual, transgender people and behavior, although these are usually covered under other terms such as biphobia and transphobia. Definitions refer to irrational fear, with the...

    .


A notable aspect of counterculture at the time was the influence of contra-cultural developments on Russian pop culture. In addition to traditional Russian styles of music, such as songs with jail-related lyrics, new music styles with explicit language were developed.

Asian counterculture


In the recent past Dr. Sebastian Kappen
Sebastian Kappen
Sebastian Kappen , was a renowned Indian Jesuit priest and Theologian.-Formation and studies:...

, an Indian theologian, has tried to redefine counterculture in the Asian context. In March 1990, at a seminar in Bangalore, he presented his countercultural perspectives (Chapter 4 in S. Kappen, Tradition, modernity, counterculture: an Asian perspective, Visthar, Bangalore, 1994).
Dr. Kappen envisages counterculture as a new culture that has to negate the two opposing cultural phenomena in Asian countries:
  1. invasion by Western capitalist culture, and
  2. the emergence of revivalist movements.

Kappen writes, "Were we to succumb to the first, we should be losing our identity; if to the second, ours would be a false, obsolete identity in a mental universe of dead symbols and delayed myths".

The most important countercultural movement in India had taken place in the state of West Bengal during the 1960s by a group of poets and artists who called themselves Hungryalists.

See also

  • Dialectic of Enlightenment
    Dialectic of Enlightenment
    Dialectic of Enlightenment , is one of the core texts of Critical Theory explaining the socio-psychological status quo that had been responsible for what the Frankfurt School considered the failure of the Enlightenment...

  • Exi (subculture)
  • La Movida Madrileña
    La Movida Madrileña
    La Movida Madrileña was a countercultural movement that took place mainly in Madrid during the Spanish transition after Francisco Franco's death in 1975...

  • Punks
  • Lo-fi music
    Lo-fi music
    Lo-fi is lower quality of sound recordings than the usual standard for music. The qualities of lo-fi are usually achieved by either degrading the quality of the recorded audio, or using certain equipment. Recent uses of the phrase have led to it becoming a genre, although it still remains as an...

  • Radicalization
    Radicalization
    Radicalization is the process in which an individual changes from passiveness or activism to become more revolutionary, militant or extremist. Radicalization is often associated with youth, adversity, alienation, social exclusion, poverty, or the perception of injustice to self or others.-...

  • Counter-economics
    Counter-economics
    Counter-economics is a term originally used by Samuel Edward Konkin III and J. Neil Schulman, libertarian activists and theorists. Konkin defined it as "the study and/or practice of all peaceful human action which is forbidden by the State." The term is short for "counter-establishment economics"...

  • Guerrilla theatre
    Guerrilla theatre
    Guerrilla theatre, or Guerrilla Performance, is a term coined in 1965 within the San Francisco Mime Troupe to describe its performances, that in spirit of the Che Guevara writings from which the term guerrilla is taken, were committed to "revolutionary sociopolitical change." The group...

  • Underground (British subculture)

External links