to what extent were the 1950's characterised by conformity?

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  • to what extent were the 1950's characterised by conformity?
    • evidence for suburban conformity
      • suburbia
        • everybody moved there, all houses looked the same
        • 1960: 33% of all people lived in suburbia
      • workplace - organisation man
        • 1947-1957 salaried middle class workers rose by 61%
          • fuelled by explosive growth of large corporations
          • such lives shown in books
            • the organization man 1956 (sold 2 million copies)
        • post war high schools offered courses on socially acceptable behaviour
          • California Vocational School 'socially engineered' pupils to custom built men
      • Television
        • family sitcoms e.g. father knows best showed domestic bliis
        • promoted consumerism through non stop advertisement
        • 90% of American homes had televisions
          • TV was favourite past time for 50% of Americans
        • designed for maximum mass appeal
          • sponsors wouldn't sponsor Nat King Cole Shown (56-57) as he was black
            • promoted consumerism through non stop advertisement
      • Hollywood
        • western movies showed heroic men and submissive women and evil 'indians'
      • Advertising
        • conformity promoted by this
          • 1950: $5.7 billion, 1960: $11.9 billion
    • evidence against suburban conformity
      • Televison
        • helped develop and define a more national culture
          • decreasing provincialism
          • The Open Mind - new Negro interview with MLK jr.
      • Hollywood and Film
        • challenging racial steryotypes
          • The Defiant Ones 1958
          • Imitation of Life 1959 showing a black mother as the hero
          • however South Pacific 1958 - 2 interracial relationships
            • box office hit
            • not received well in the south - caused race riots in Long Island NY
        • more sexually explicit films
          • demonstrated the capacity to change and challenge
          • Baby Doll 1956
          • able to ignore motion picture code due to more liberal views
        • challenging traditional female roles and middle class conformity
          • All that heaven allows 1995
            • where widow Jane Wyman, rejects the middle class materialism and hypocrisy
          • Crime of passion 1957
            • Barbara Stanwyck's plays successful journalist suffocated by suburban life who has an affair
        • Hollywood teen rebels
          • Rebel without a cause 1955
          • Blackboard jungle 1955


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