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This page is about counterculture through the ages, for sixties counterculture please see sixties countercultures.

Lipstick Traces, a Secret History of 20th Century (1989) - Greil Marcus [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK] [...]

In Lipstick Traces - A Secret History of the Twentieth Century Greil Marcus traces a subliminal trajectory where nearly-invisible connections arc across punk, the Situationists of 1968, Dada in 1916, the Enrages of the French Revolution and heretical millenarianism in medieval times. He isn’t describing the direct causal link of past and present but suggesting a more opaque entanglement. --Dan

Counterculture Through the Ages : From Abraham to Acid House - Ken Goffman, Dan Joy [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK] [...]

As long as there has been culture, there has been counterculture. At times it moves deep below the surface of things, a stealth mode of being all but invisible to the dominant paradigm; at other times it’s in plain sight, challenging the status quo; and at still other times it erupts in a fiery burst of creative–or destructive–energy to change the world forever. --via Counterculture Through the Ages (2004)

Chronology of countercultures: medieval heretics - libertine - enlightenment thinkers - French revolution - anarchism - Bohemianism - Dandy - Marxism - modern art - avant-garde - Beat generation - Situationism (Europe) - Provo (Netherlands) - May 1968 (Paris) - sexual revolution - hippy

Key texts: Lipstick Traces, a Secret History of 20th Century (1989) - Counterculture Through the Ages : From Abraham to Acid House (2004)

Related tropes: anti- - censorship - cool - free love - lifestyle - nihilism - minority - opposition - outsider - rebellion - revolution - subculture - subversive - underdog - underground

Related to sixties counterculture in the USA: see separate entry


Counterculture: A culture, especially of young people, with values or lifestyles in opposition to those of the established culture. --American Heritage Dictionary

In sociology, counterculture is a term used to describe a cultural group whose values and norms are at odds with those of the social mainstream, a cultural equivalent of a political Opposition. In casual practice, the term came to prominence in the general press as it was used to refer to the youth rebellion that swept North America and Western Europe in the 1960s. Earlier countercultural milieus in 19th century Europe included the traditions of Bohemianism and of the Dandy. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterculture [May 2005]

Alternative society

The phrase alternative society may have been in usage since the 19th century when Karl Marx and Proudhon represented two factions for alternative visions of social change.

Philosophers who suggested alternative models for society included: Charles Fourier (1772-1837), Robert Owen (1771-1858), Louis Blanc (1811-1882), Louis-Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881) and Wilhelm Weitling (1808-1871). The background of alternative social thinking stems largely from the history of utopianism.

The phrase and variations of it appear throughout the progressive political and social writings of the 20th century. Mahatma Gandhi and his followers such as Satish Kumar advocate, as an alternative to violent revolution, the creation of alternative social services, alternative transportation systems, alternative food and clothing production, alternative housing, alternative medicine, alternative arts and alternative communications media including an alternative press. By recreating every facet of society and providing better services than the official ones the plan is that the people will flock to the alternative society and desert the establishment. Then the leaders of the establishment would follow. Thus change would be accomplished without violence. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative society [Oct 2005]

See also: alternative

Subculture vs counterculture

Conventionally, [a subculture is] any group sharing characteristics which are distinctive enough to differentiate them from other groups within a larger or "parent" culture. These characteristics may be economic, ethnic, political, or any matter of lifestyle. More particularly, "subculture" is used to designate those smaller groups which function in opposition to the larger culture, as in the punk subculture discussed in Dick Hebdige's Subculture: The Meaning of Style (1979). Stuart Hall (et al., Resistance Through Rituals [1976]) distinguishes subculture, which he sees as informally and intuitively organized, from "counter-culture," which he sees as more formally arranged and more expressly political and consciously ideological. In this scheme, punks were subcultural and hippies were counter-cultural.--Robert Belton, http://www.arts.ouc.bc.ca/fiar/glossary/gloshome.html Sept 2003

Dancin' in the Streets! Anarchists, Iwws, Surrealists, Situationists & Provos in the 1960s (2005) - Various

Dancin' in the Streets! Anarchists, Iwws, Surrealists, Situationists & Provos in the 1960s (2005) - Various [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
While square critics derided them as "the left wing of the Beat Generation," the multi-racial, working-class editorial groups of The Rebel Worker and its sister journal Heatwave in London became well known for their highly original revolutionary perspective, innovative social/cultural criticism, and uninhibited class-war humor. Rejecting traditional left dogma, and proudly affirming the influence of Bugs Bunny and the Incredible Hulk, these playful rebels against work expanded the critique of Capital into a critique of daily life and developed a truly radical theory and practice, rooted in poetry, provocation, blues, jazz and the pleasure principle. Active in strikes, free-speech fights and other tumults, they also introduced countless readers to important writings by and about surrealists, situationists, IWWs, anarchists, libertarian Marxists, Provos, the Japanese Zengakuren, and other political/cultural revolutionary-minded individuals and movements from all over the world. This lavish tome provides dozens of selections from all the editions of both journals, with a wealth of related documents, communiques and articles, a bibliography, and detailed introduc tions by the original editors. What a book! What other work could Murray Bookchin, Sam Dolgoff and Guy Debord all agree was worthwhile and revolutionary! --from the publisher

Industrial Workers of the World
In the 1960s, Rebel Worker was published in Chicago by the surrealists Franklin and Penelope Rosemont. One edition was published in London with Charles Radcliffe who went on to become involved with the Situationist International. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Workers_of_the_World [Apr 2006]

Charles Radcliffe
Charles Radcliffe (1942-) is a descendant of Nell Gwynne. A member of the radical direct-action wing of the peace movement of the early 1960s, he became a regular contributor to the anarchist press in Britain and in 1966 launched Heatwave, a radical magazine produced in London. It lasted for just two issues, but was cited in the Situationist tract On the Poverty of Student Life as an example of one of the "profoundly revolutionary tendencies in the critique of all aspects of the prevailing way of life" and its treatment of popular culture has been widely hailed as path-breaking. The critic Jon Savage said that one piece by Radcliffe "laid the foundation for the next 20 years of sub-cultural theory".

Heatwave was closely associated with Rebel Worker, a short-lived but immensely influential magazine published in Chicago by Franklin Rosemont, Penelope Rosemont and Bernard Marszalek, to which Radcliffe was a contributor. They were members of the Industrial Workers of the World and had links with the Surrealist movement in France, the British libertarian socialist group Solidarity and the Situationist International.

Radcliffe became a member of the British Section of the Situationist International in December 1966, alongside Christopher Gray, Donald Nicholson-Smith and Timothy (T. J.) Clark. He resigned in November 1967, and the British Section was then dissolved with the expulsion of Gray, Nicholson-Smith and Clark.

Radcliffe then became involved with the magazine Friends, sharing a flat with editor Alan Marcuson. He currently lives in Spain. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Radcliffe [May 2006]

See also: radical - counterculture - left - politics

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