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The Social and Political Context of the 1950's Is Crucial to Any Understanding of the Birth of Rock N Roll

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The social and political context of the 1950's is crucial to any understanding of the birth of rock n roll.

"Rock was formed out of the social, economic and political context of post-war America". The social context was on the bases of the post war baby boom, which counted for the birth of 77 million babies between the years 1946-1964. By the year 1964 forty percent of America's population was under twenty years of age. For the first time both middle and working class youths were acquiring an affluent lifestyle. Disposable income came from part-time work and pocket money, which gave youths some form of spending power, which gave them a sense of independence. This mind you were what Wicke's point out was due to America's economic growth and capitalism, which was reinstated in the country.

The American governments distrust in politicians as well as other members in different institutions led to the investigation of numerous people and the need for government employees to sign loyalty oaths. America became obsessed with the need to conform in social behaviour, so much so that youths were placed under immense pressure to understand the important value of the American way of life, which was to do well at school. This message was deployed through the bombardment of propaganda campaigns. It was this notion of importance on school that sociologist Coleman describes as being the reason for the segregation of youths from the rest of society by forming a new culture 'teenagers' a group of youths which are of the same age group. This formation was encouraged by the school based activities that they had to participate in. The rules implemented at teenagers were met with rebellious attitude. The ideological view that the government had built around education was seen to be artificial. The notion that a good education would equip an individual with a good job did not fall through as many teenagers realised.

As a result cultural industries saw fit to move in and make profit from this reality by offering a form of escapism through music. Music mainly Rhythm and Blues was expressing the experiences of young teenagers. Teenagers no longer upheld the values and message that their parents and schools were promoting. This created conflict between the cultural industries who were promoting the pleasures of consumption with the traditional view of educational demands. This was seen to be the background formation and experience for rock n roll. It was due to the experiences of teenagers that Rock n roll formed. Rock n roll is due to Presley etc.

However the arguments put forward on the notion that the social and political context of the 1950's was the reason behind the emergence of rock n roll is undermined by Peterson who states that the birth of Rock n roll can not be purely based and credited to the individuals mentioned above. That is not to say he is undermining

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