Retrieving the Lost Self: The Greening of America, Easy Rider and the Politics of Countercultural Whiteness

Till Kadritzke

Abstract


The transition from the 1960s to the 1970s saw the birth of two significant countercultural products: Charles Reich’s bestseller The Greening of America (1970) and Dennis Hopper’s surprising box office success Easy Rider (1969). This article argues that Reich’s analysis of a “loss of self” in US society constructed white identity as being in crisis, thus setting the stage for affective solutions to this crisis by emergent cultural forms. The article understands both of these cultural artefacts as complicit in the emergence of a countercultural reconfiguration of white subjectivity, examining its racial politics and its translation into an aesthetic regime that came to be known as the cinema of the New Hollywood.

Keywords


Counterculture; 1960s; Subjectivity; Whiteness; Hollywood; Film History

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5283/copas.316

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