CIDRAL Key Ideas Seminar: Countercultural Legacies: Led by David Wilkinson (Manchester Metropolitan)
|Starts:||14:00 21 Nov 2019|
|Ends:||16:00 21 Nov 2019|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
|Who is it for:||University staff, External researchers, Adults|
This event is part of CIDRAL's Work, Leisure, Culture strand.
David Wilkinson (Manchester Metropolitan University) will lead a CIDRAL Key Ideas Seminar entitled Countercultural Legacies.
From the 1960s, Britain produced a thriving and multifarious counterculture whose cultural and political revolt resonates profoundly with our conflicted present. To skim the pages of its underground media, for instance, is to confront a startling array of seemingly ‘contemporary’ crises: housing and urban policy; environmental destruction and green alternatives; fractured identities of nation, region and class. The counterculture was bound up with convulsions in the politics and lived realities of gender, sexuality and race; it reflected on the uncertain implications of new technologies for work and leisure; and it went about all this with an irreverent lack of faith in existing cultural styles and political institutions, offering alternatives ranging from the local and pragmatic to the expansive and utopian.
Put simply, the counterculture encapsulates not only the concerns of the postwar period; its continuity with the present gives it the potential to provide rich insight into the hopes and fears of Brexit Britain.? Yet this is a complex, contradictory legacy. Was the counterculture little more than an adaptive middle class response to the shifting priorities of postwar capitalism? Have its dissident energies now been incorporated? Or might it offer clues and inspiration for the left in a volatile, uncertain conjuncture?
Seminar discussion will be framed by the following questions:
- What was the class composition of the counterculture - and what are the cultural and political consequences of this?
- Does the counterculture provide what Raymond Williams described as ‘resources of hope’; can it posit alternatives, insights and answers to the problems and relationships of today?
- How do countercultural concerns with nation, region and class inform recent understandings of a ‘divided Britain’ in the wake of the Brexit vote – a country apparently split between urbane cosmopolitans and the provincial ‘left behind’?
- How have countercultural perspectives on work, leisure and technological/environmental change shaped the resurgence of interest in a ‘post-work’, even ‘post-capitalist’, society (Mason 2015; Srnicek and Williams 2015; Bastani 2018)?
- How and with what consequences have countercultural ideas borne on transformations in urban policy?
David Wilkinson is Lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Travel and Contact Information
Ellen Wilkinson Building