American Culture in the 1980s (Twentieth Century American by Graham Thompson

By Graham Thompson

This booklet appears past the typical label of 'Ronald Reagan's the US' to chart the complicated intersection of cultures within the Eighties. In doing so it presents an insightful account of the foremost cultural different types of Nineteen Eighties America—literature and drama; movie and tv; tune and function; artwork and photography—and influential texts and developments of the last decade: from White Noise to Wall road, from Silicon Valley to MTV, and from Madonna to Cindy Sherman. A targeted bankruptcy considers the altering dynamics of yankee tradition in an more and more globalised marketplace.Key gains: * concentrated case stories that includes key texts, genres, writers, artists and cultural developments* distinct chronology of Eighties American tradition* Bibliographies for every bankruptcy* Twelve black and white illustrations

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American culture was becoming part of an increasingly global culture. Not only did American cultural products become more pervasive around the world, but so too did American culture import technologies and cultural products. The Culture Wars One of the problems with defining the 1980s as Reagan’s America is that it projects a sense of unity that does not stand up to analysis. If one looks at exactly who elected Reagan to office it soon becomes apparent that his presidential campaigns relied on a core of white male support.

29 Reagan, famously, did not speak publicly about AIDS until 1987, by which time more than 20,000 had died from the condition. ’30 In the context of a shift to the Right in the US during the 1980s, the politicization of AIDS did not bode well for health education, medical research or public understanding. And yet while a politics of demonization persisted through the decade and a series of conspiracy theories – many involving fanciful notions about the CIA and military bio-warfare research – muddied the waters of medical evidence, a quite different response was also emerging.

In the context of Reaganomics, digital technology represented the next stage of capitalist development and was a means of forging new markets away from the traditional sectors of manufacturing industry which had been so damaged by competition from Europe and Asia during the late 1970s. The Intellectual Context 15 The consequences of such changes were not just economic, however. The shakeout in the American economy created new forms for the delivery and consumption of culture and new forms of ownership of culture industries.

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