The Beat Goes On: The Plastic People of the Universe and the Politicization of the Second Culture: 1968 - 1976
Cofone McLaughlin, Annie Du Hamel
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CitationCofone McLaughlin, Annie Du Hamel. 2008. The Beat Goes On: The Plastic People of the Universe and the Politicization of the Second Culture: 1968 - 1976. Master's thesis, Harvard University, Extension School.
AbstractThis study investigates the story of the Plastic People of the Universe (PPU), a Czech rock band formed in the wake of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, who were, like the majority of Czech citizens, suffering from a multitude of injustices under totalitarian power. In 1970, the PPU were refused the right to perform and in 1975 the band is said to have created the "second culture," an alternative cultural space that was a significant--if somewhat ambiguous--reaction to the cultural injustices perpetrated by the Communist government during this time.
This thesis will challenge this reaction and explore whether the creation of the second culture was in fact a political statement in reaction to the Communists' anti-rock mandates, or whether it constituted a primarily aesthetic decision--and if it was an aesthetic stance, whether or not that had political consequences separate and distinct from the first culture yet was not, in itself, a political stance. While the PPU were remarkable figures in terms of artistic integrity and persistence, they will likely in historical terms be regarded as political revolutionaries, even if this role as political revolutionary runs counter to all that they believed. This contradiction, therefore, poses the question: Did the PPU believe that art exists in a realm separate from the political? And were the PPU being either naively idealistic or cleverly evasive to presume their work would not have political repercussions? I will show that while the actions of the PPU counter the perception that they were political, essays and interviews by the PPU members themselves confirm their apolitical intent.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367536
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