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The Social And Cultural Changes In The Sixties

1452 words - 6 pages

The Social and Cultural Changes in the Sixties There was undoubtedly a significant social and cultural change in the
sixties. The 60’s represents a year of social and cultural liberation
from the old ways of the 40’s and the 50’s because there was more
affluence, consumer goods i.e. televisions and radios, increase in
education i.e. 22 more universities were established and saw the
emergence of comprehensive schools, sexual liberation, immigration and
women’s rights. However, it could also be seen that the sixties was a
result of continuity from the late 50’s which started the revolution
and continued through to the 70’s. The fact that it is important to
recognise that social revolution wasn’t happening everywhere, for
example, the Women’s Institute flower shop. Thus we can see that there
was a Social revolution but it was limited as some people were not
affected by the goings on of the revolution.

Social change in the 1960’s was not universal as it did not affect
everyone, it concerned mostly the educated middle class, and there
were variations according to age, class and religion. The very fact
that the advance of women, for example began before the First World
War, was accelerated by the Second World War, and was still not
complete in the 1990’s. Arguments suggest that if there was a social
revolution then there is a big question as to why it didn’t last very
long. It is clear to see that there was a social revolution but it has
not affected everyone.

The sixties saw an expansion of higher education for the youth culture
as 22 new universities were founded with a huge increase in the
numbers of students. Many of these students were the first members of
their families ever to go to university, or to leave home before
marriage. The experiences of this new generation of students had a
huge influence on a wide range of social issues, from soft drugs to
sexual freedoms, from feminism to anti-war protests. The sixties was
also the decade of comprehensive schools. According to Arthur Marwick
this was just one of the sixteen ‘Characteristics of a unique era’.
Greater social mobility due to the emergence of schools and
universities shows that some sort of change was occurring and as a
result it was affecting youth.

Macmillan led the Conservative party to a thumping victory in the 1959
general election because he was with the whole idea of consumer
prosperity and had a slogan ‘You’ve never had it so good’. One could
say that if there was a sixties revolution then it has happened due to
consumer goods. The fact that there was colour TV’s in 1968
accelerated the consumer society and also brought to everyone’s
attention the ‘world news’ and international media images. Macmillan

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