Anarchy in the UK? Media, popular culture and society in the 1970s

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Mind Map on Anarchy in the UK? Media, popular culture and society in the 1970s, created by willo118_murphy on 04/17/2014.

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Created by willo118_murphy over 5 years ago
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Anarchy in the UK? Media, popular culture and society in the 1970s
1 How far were the 1970s a disastrous decade for the British?
1.1 The financial context
1.1.1 This saw the end of the 'golden era' of capitalism Arab organisations stopped the supply of oil to the USA. The price of oil soon quadrupled. The pound had also been devalued so the cost of all imports rose.
1.1.2 The oil shock and devaluation of the pound caused huge cuts in government spending sent the economy into a damaging recession. Unemployment rose from 2% to 4.7% of the population and the standard of living dropped.
1.1.3 Inflation rose to 25% and due to this trade unions demanded higher wages, which further worsened inflation
1.1.4 Things grew even worse when miners caused power cuts and went on strike, public sector workers went on strike.
1.1.5 This all contributed to a felling that Britain was in a state of serious decline.
1.2 The political context
1.2.1 Instead of Butskellism (A blend of economic policy that served both sides) British people seemed to face an increasingly stark choice between strongly left-wing rule of the trade unions and a strongly right-wing, even fascist government.
1.2.2 In every instance the government had to give in to union demands for wage increases. Margaret Thatcher gradually emerged as the voice of reaction against 'mob rule' in the unions.
1.2.3 In Northern Ireland, tension erupted between the protestants and catholic. Such events such as bloody Sunday only made things worse. The government passed the prevention of terrorism act which allowed police to make arrests based on suspicion of terrorist activity.
1.3 The social context
1.3.1 The 1969 divorce reforms act and the matrimonial property act made it easier for women to get a divorce. The rate of divorce doubled to 100,000.
1.3.2 The 1970s saw the growth of 'women's lib': to demand equal pay, free contraception and childcare.
1.3.3 The era of mass black and Asian immigration was over, their combined population had risen to 650,000 in 1971. Racial tensions developed,
2 How far did mass media and popular culture reflect or exacerbate the social and economic tensions in the years 1970s?
2.1 Television
2.1.1 There were only three television channels, BBC1, BBC2 and ITV, as 95% of British households had a television set, the potential audience and influence was huge.
2.1.2 The impact of television was further enhanced by the spread of broadcasts being done in colour.
2.1.3 The 1970s are remembered as the golden age of the sitcom, with many classic series, such as Faulty Towers. The values and images shown in such programmes may have had a large impact on British people's attitudes to authority, morality and on a range of social issues.
2.2 Soaps and dramas
2.2.1 The most popular dramas were either based o the past, such as ITV's Upstairs Downstairs, or on contemporary policing The Professionals.. Especially the Sweeny depicted a tough and rough police force that was not afraid to punch first and ask questions later, the police were shown as hard and honest. 75% of British people thought that the police were honest. The representation of the tough policing was very popular.
2.3 News and documentaries
2.3.1 The 1970s saw a rise in hard-hitting investigative journalism. They investigated the damage done by the drug thalidomide, corruption in the government and reports from Vietnam and Northern Ireland.
2.3.2 The BBC also faced threats, this time from its board of governors and even directly from the government, over its programmes on Northern Ireland. Threats included a call from James Callaghan to secure greater governemtn control over broadcasts.
2.4 Radio and popular music
2.4.1 In the early 1970s glam rock rose to the fore but was rivalled with the rise of home-made, anarchistic style of punk. The Sex Pistols were the most famous example, they rose to fame after they swore at interviewers.
2.4.2 Appearances in the press and on television spread the fashion to other young people across the country. While punk remained limited to a minority of young people, it had a large impact on subsequent mainstream music and fashions.
2.4.3 Punk was also seen as promoting female independence and self-confidence. For the first time bands had female members who were not there solely as sex objects.
2.5 The press
2.5.1 In the case of war on terrorism, many reporters have prided themselves on their ability to expose the truth, regardless of political bias. The satire boom of the late 1960s encouraged a more confrontational approach to government in the press
2.5.2 Press coverage of 'wildcat strikes' and 'flying pickets' encouraged other unions to adopt these tactics in their own struggles
2.5.3 The more left wing newspapers showed greater sympathy to workers who went on strike than the right wing press, who strongly criticised unions
2.5.4 The sun, for the first time, introduced the 'page 3 girl", a draw for Mary male readers. Mary Whitehouse continued to protest against 'sexploitation' in the media.
2.6 Cinema
2.6.1 Mounting debts in American films studios led to withdrawal of investment. In 1968, American money had funded 85% of British films, within 2 years, this had dropped to 66%. At the same time, the conservative government cut funds available to the National Film Finance Corporation.
2.6.2 The Theatres Act virtually ended the censorship of plays on British stages. Liberal views on sex were becoming more permissible, films were classified features much stronger violent or sexual content . Some films focused on the struggle of individuals against society. But it is still questionable if these films made British society anymore violent.
3 How far did mass media change British society in the years 1970s?
3.1 Economic and social tensions, changes in the law, directly affected most people in British society, as mass media reflected these problems, they may have made them seem worse than they actually were.
3.2 The 1970s were a time of national hardship, rising unemployment, and inflation. Causing tentions between tade unions and the government. The troubles in Northern Ireland gave a backdrop of violence to the decade.
3.3 Mass media reflected these developments. Newspapers were full of stories about Northern Ireland and bomb attacks on Britain, there was very little reference to these troubles in television. However tension and violence was the subject of many films in this period.
3.4 The escapism of violence of some genres of popular music in this period can be seen as a reaction to the troubling times.
3.5 Depictions of racial minorities on television may have chnageed the attitudes of the white majority to a degree and the more liberal censorship may have spread permissive attitudes in cinema. There were some backlashes against the depictions of sex and violence in mass media, but only from a small minority of the population.

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