The defection of the counter culture : A paper in the sociology of literature



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The thesis was a study in the Sociology of Literature. The purpose was twofold. The explicit purpose was to illustrate the works of fiction being read by the counter culture (an anti-establishraent group of white, usually under-thirty college students, of the hippie or yippie variety) as reflecting and reinforcing their values, attitudes and ethos. It was maintained that the literary themes of disaffiliation, refusal, absurdity, existential choice, social involvement, mysticism, myth, sensuous life styles and the saintliness of insanity, meshed together, mirrored and formed the weltanschauung of the counter culture. The implicit purpose was to place these values into a conflict situation depicting the counter culture as a reaction against the cerebral life style of the societal mainstream. Theoretically, the thesis was structured according to three basic assumptions of the Sociology of Literature. The first two assumptions, reflection and social control, refer to the fact that literature reflects and likewise reinforces the predominant societal norms and values. Their application was restricted in the present study, however, by the utilization of the third assumption, the notion of selectivity which limits the concept of reflection and social control to just one social group, in our case the counter culture.



Counter culture, Literature