Identity and Culture in New Zealand During the Fifties: The Cultural Identity Gap Between the ‘Somewhat Mediocre Dominant Mass Culture’ and the Writing Public
The Ffties in New Zealand - no different to many other countries in the western world - are persitently thought of as the 'Golden Weather Decade': young families, many many happy children living in intact suburban-home families, more jobs than hands and prosperity for all... They are also often described as dull and conformist. In New Zealand historiography, both these views circumscribe the received opinion.
Doubt about how dull the Fifties really were, however, seems justified. On many levels, the Fifties were just as turbulent as any other decade. To which extent, then, have ways of writing history contributed to this blurred golden image? Which phenomena or attitudes seem to still justify deriding the lives and aspirations of one generation and a whole society? And to which extent does the distorted image of the Fifties with its handed down opinions of the ordinary New Zealander's fear of intellectuals and love of gossip obstruct even present-day relations between various social groups (classes?) in this country? These questions, among others, I seek to answer in my research.
Keywords: Culture, Identity, Writers, Mainstream Culture, 1950s, Cultural Sociology, Cultural Materialism, Raymond Williams, T. S. Eliot
Masters Student, Social Science Group
Took up oil painting in Sept 2005 - my main interest at the moment apart from walking various dogs for long hours, biking and reading.