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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Post-cool kids: How the children born into the counterculture of the American 1960s and 70s became a scattered, disorganized, postmodern tribe
by Lovejoy, Rebekah, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013, 455; 3560882
Abstract (Summary)

This is an ethnographic and depth psychological study of Post-Cool Kids, people born into the 1960s American counterculture between 1964 and 1978. This population has been predominantly overlooked by the academy apart from the Family Lifestyles Study completed at UCLA twenty years ago. In this, the first study of its kind, I explore the ethnological specificity of this set of people, Post-Cool Kids.

I have integrated the methodologies of Michel Foucault and the theories of archetypal psychology developed by James Hillman with work done by Victor Turner as well as other work from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, literary criticism, feminist theory, cultural studies and histories of the sixties era. I use this interdisciplinary data to inform a qualitative study of eighteen subjects raised by countercultural parents. I asked my subjects about their lives as children, teenagers, young adults, and currently approaching midlife. Through an analysis of these interviews I identified six cultural complexes specific to the counterculture that I then deconstructed and discussed as systems of knowing within the American culture of the last forty years: freedom, anti-authority, intense experience, cool, being real, and utopia. These complexes together provide a unique way of experiencing the world that informs the ethnological and psychological perspective of Post-Cool Kids, and provides them with a multi-schematic, process-based way of engaging with the world around them. I also discuss such topics as alternative education, communal experiences, drug addiction, creative thinking, embodied trauma, parental entwinement, and personal activism. My objective was to identify the transmission of culture from counterculture parents to their Post-Cool Kids. In the process I developed several unique methodological approaches. Merging postmodern theory, archetypal psychology and methods from religious studies and anthropology, I evaluate the nature of belief within a secular cultural context. Ultimately, I place American historical concepts of utopia side by side with the experience and multi-schematic perspective of Post-Cool Kids to suggest that they represent an emergent pattern in culture, and show how they can inform new theories of utopia.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Grillo, Laura
Commitee: Anderson, Karen, Weisner, Thomas S.
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Mythological Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, Cultural anthropology, Social psychology
Keywords: American counterculture, Countercultural parents
Publication Number: 3560882
ISBN: 978-1-303-07532-2
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