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Lecture 2

Sociology Notes Week 23

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCY 122
Professor
Rob Beamish
Semester
Winter

Description
Sociology Notes Week 23 The Student Movement –Background o Student Movement was a revolt of privilege against privilege for privilege in a society in which the character of privilege had been changing  Kids had grown up with a sense of options that nobody else in the world had ever had before o Student Movement was shaped by a broader social structure of the US, Canada and Western Europe  Also shaped by American Civil Rights Movement, Anti-Vietnam War Movement and Anti-Nuclear Movement o The movement was ultimately about privilege – who had it , what was the basis of it, should it be challenged and what type of privilege should follow? o Student activists in 1960s condemned pursuit of material privilege because it was an obstacle to spiritual authenticity  Condemned privilege based on material advantage and sought to establish democracy freed from power attached to wealth  Students criticized defense of privilege because it meant the sacrifice of powerless majority in interest of powerful few  Decried the loos of genuine humanity in a world that worshiped material possessions o Key document – Port Huron Statement Sampling of Port Huron Statement o Two most permeating events:  The permeating and victimizing fact of human degradation – Southern struggle against racial bigotry  Enclosing fact of the Cold War symbolized by the presence of the Bomb brought awareness o Paradoxes:  Declaration that all men are created equal is contradictory to racist ideals in the South and big cities in the North  Proclaimed peaceful intentions of the US contradicted its economic and military investments in the Cold War o While two thirds of man kind suffer under nourishment the upper class revels amidst superfluous abundance o America rests in a national stalemate – goals are ambiguous and tradition- bound instead of informed and clear  Democratic system apathetic and manipulated rather than of by and for the people o The fact that each individual sees apathy in his fellows perpetuates the common reluctance to organize for change o The conventional moral terms of age and politician moralities (peoples democracies and ‘free’ world) reflect realities poorly  Myths rather than descriptive principles o Loneliness, estrangement and isolation describe the distance between man and man today – dominant tendencies cannot be overcome  Only when a love of man overcomes the idolatrous worship of things by man o Sampling of Port Huron Statement shows the lofty nature of the Movement’s goals and the energy and commitment its members held The Socail Context of the Student Movement o General social context – coming-of-age of the first baby boomers  Boomers were a catalyst for a number of social changes throughout their lives o Post-war generation formed by dominant image of ideal urban household  Baby boom created need for more schools  Organization of wide-scale leisure activities  Disney, record, television, fashion and advertising industries targeted baby boomer generation with their products o 1956 – first shopping mall was opened in the US Interstate Highway Act and the beginning of self-service speedy fast food markets o General atmosphere of West was one of promise and opportunity  Class society replaced by post-industrial society  Mass societies devoid of diverse political ideologies and major divisions  Meritocracy – inter-generation and intra-generation mobility was possible for those who worked hard  Freedom, democracy and wellbeing – hallmarks of 1950s o Blacks in America began to ask why they were not a part of the American Dream  After civil war Southern states passed segregation laws for trains, buses and outlawed inter-racial marriage  NAACP sought to end segregation though legal systems in the US  1952 Supreme Court overturned decision that legalized segregation on inter-state railways  Inter-state transport was still segregated – Blacks who disobeyed were arrested or fined  Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in Alabama so King, Abernathy, Nixon and Rustin protested  Women’s Political council organized boycott of bus line  Supreme Court decision forced bus company to accept integration  4 students sat at Woolworth’s’ lunch counter – sparked other sit-ins to challenge segregation  Freedom Rides organized by CORE involved black and white volunteers – traveling and restaurant sit-ins  Challenged all forms of racial discrimination  Plessy v. Ferguson was cornerstone of segregation in the cool system  Brown vs. Board of Education – integration came slowly in schools  NAACP secured federal court order to allow James Meredith to enroll and University of Mississippi  Signaled blacks would have access to higher learning – gateway to power and influence  Kennedy Administration had to call on National Guard after riots and to protect Meredith  Importance to student movement:  Black revolution served as model for tactics and strategies  Civil Rights Movement demonstrated power of passive, non-violent civil disobedience  Opposition to CRM led to emergence of more radical Black Power Movement o The Vietnam war influenced the Student movement in several ways  As US became involved in war students were tied to conflict  University protected enrolled students from conscription  Students were critical of close relationship between universities and military-industrial complex  Goal to end war and institutional complicity of universities in Vietnam war effort  Students wanted a more active voice in university policy  Popular culture played a dual role in terms of the Student Movement  Helped create the student movement o Woodstock Generation created its own culture opposed to mainstream America  Movement was constrained and constricted by popular culture – small number of students involved o Pop culture was driven by the market and those who wanted to make a profit o Songs were about love not civil rights struggle o Movements in Canada, Britain France and Germany were distinct from movements in the US  Canada was distinct from US movement – peace and anti- nuclear movements  Accepted those who had let the US because of their draft status  Opposition to Vietnam war was stronger than in the US  Anti-nuclear movement was active in support of TSM  Canadian nationalism played an important role – US wanted Canada to arm itself with missiles  Anti-Nuke and Peace movement coalesced around resistance to US industrialist policies From Ideology and Social Context to the Student Movement o Some analysts argue the Student Movement was due to increased size of universities, presence of permanent students or anomie of university life  None of these claims stand up to any real scrutiny o Increase in size did not accounts for rise in student activism and there was no correlation between universi
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