European Social and Cultural
Trends
Late 20th Century
European
Population
Trends
 European
birth rates
are for the
most part
dropping
 Europe has
an aging
population
Migration of 20th Century
People
 Decolonization led people to leave colonies and
return to their homeland (e.g. Great Britain received
thousands of immigrants from its former colonies in
the Caribbean, Africa, and India
 Racial tensions arrive as many working class people
resent the new immigrants
 Extreme right-wing group National Front in France
runs Jean-Marie Le Pen in a losing election to
Jacques Chirac in 2002
 Similar racist movements arise in many other
European countries
The New Muslim Population
 Immigration of Muslims into
Europe come from two chief
sources
– European economic
growth – labor shortages
lead some European
nations to invite “guest
workers” to their country
– Decolonization –
Muslims from India and
Salman Rushdie, Muslim IndianAfrica come to Britain,
British author of The Satanic
while Muslims from
Verses
Algeria come to France
Muslim Culture
 Muslim immigrants for the most
part remain unassimilated and selfcontained, with the women
remaining at home
 European Muslims are not
homogeneous coming from
different class countries, class
backgrounds and different Islamic
traditions
 The presence of foreign-born
Muslims whose labor is necessary
for the prosperity of the European
economy is a major issue in
contemporary Europe.
 Many of these Muslims, such as
these women, live in self-contained
communities.
Christians of the 20th
Century and Today
 Neo-Orthodoxy – presented by Karl Barth, it
reemphasized the transcendence of God and
the dependence of humankind on the divine
 Liberal theology – Paul Tillich, Rudolf
Bultmann, John Robinson and C.S. Lewis all
regarded religion as a human phenomenon,
where divinity is sought in human nature and
culture
Vatican II
 A Roman Catholic reform movement
 More liberal ideas in recent times have included; Mass celebrated in the
vernacular languages and freer relations with other Christian
denominations and Judaism
 Conservative ideas kept – celibacy of priests, prohibition on abortion and
birth control, and no women priests
 Pope John Paul II emphasized the traditionalist doctrine, firm stands
against communism and growth of the church in the non-Western world ,
while emphasizing social justice
•Throughout his pontificate John Paul II continued a close relationship with his
native Poland to which he made several visits.
•The earliest of these was important in demonstrating the authority of the church
against Polish communist authorities.
•Shown here in his Polish visit of June 1999, the pope would celebrate mass before
several hundred thousand Poles after the collapse of communism which had
occurred a decade earlier.
Western Culture: Feminism
 Simone de Beauvoir wrote The Second
Sex, exploring the differences being a
women made in her life
 feminist journals published – starting in the
1970’s
 emphasis in movement in women controlling
their own lives
New Work Patterns
 childcare demands decreased by compulsory
education and better health care
 some women financially felt they had to go to work
 women go to work when their children are old
enough to go to school
 women go back to work after their children have
grown
 women have less children and have children later
in life so there is an increase in the work force
Women in the New Eastern
Europe
 many of the nations have shown little
concern for women’s issues
 economic difficulties in the region limited the
amount health and welfare programs
Art Movements: Modernism
 The term encompasses the activities and output of those who
felt the "traditional" forms of art, architecture, literature, religious
faith, social organization and daily life were becoming outdated
in the new economic, social and political conditions of an
emerging fully industrialized world.
 Modernism rejected the lingering certainty of Enlightenment
thinking, and also that of the existence of a compassionate, allpowerful Creator.
 This is not to say that all modernists or modernist movements
rejected either religion or all aspects of Enlightenment thought,
rather that modernism can be viewed as a questioning of the
axioms of the previous age.
 The modernist artists we have already studied included the
works of post-impressionists, Dadaists, surrealists, etc.
Modern Thought
From a literary perspective, the main characteristics of modernism include:
 1. an emphasis on impressionism and subjectivity in writing (and in visual arts as
well); an emphasis on HOW seeing (or reading or perception itself) takes place,
rather than on WHAT is perceived. An example of this would be stream-ofconsciousness writing.
 2. a movement away from the apparent objectivity provided by omniscient thirdperson narrators, fixed narrative points of view, and clear-cut moral positions.
Faulkner's multiply-narrated stories are an example of this aspect of modernism.
 3. a blurring of distinctions between genres, so that poetry seems more documentary
(as in T.S. Eliot or ee cummings) and prose seems more poetic (as in Woolf or
Joyce).
 4. an emphasis on fragmented forms, discontinuous narratives, and random-seeming
collages of different materials.
 5. a tendency toward reflexivity, or self-consciousness, about the production of the
work of art, so that each piece calls attention to its own status as a production, as
something constructed and consumed in particular ways.
 6. a rejection of elaborate formal aesthetics in favor of minimalist designs (as in the
poetry of William Carlos Williams) and a rejection, in large part, of formal aesthetic
theories, in favor of spontaneity and discovery in creation.
 7. A rejection of the distinction between "high" and "low" or popular culture, both in
choice of materials used to produce art and in methods of displaying, distributing,
and consuming art.
T.S. Eliot “The Love Song of J. Alfred
Prufrock”
 Modernist Poet
 Lived in Europe in the
early to mid 1900s
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Existentialism
 belief that holds human beings totally
responsible for their acts and that this
responsibility causes dread and anguish
 Soren Kierkegaard – Danish writer
maintained Christianity could be grasped
only by lives caught in extreme situations /
questioned whether human beings are in
control of their own destiny
Questioning of Rationalism by
Existentialists
 famous writers; Martin
Heidegger, Karl Jaspers,
Jean-Paul Sartre, and Albert
Camus all questioned the
primacy of reason and scientific
understanding
 according to the existentialists,
human beings are compelled to
formulate their own ethical
values and cannot depend on
traditional religion, rational
philosophy, intuition, or social
customs for ethical guidance
Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de
Beauvoir
Post-Modernism
 Postmodernism is a tendency in contemporary
culture characterized by the rejection of objective
truth and global cultural narrative.
 It emphasizes the role of language, power
relations, and motivations
– in particular it attacks the use of sharp classifications
such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white
versus black, and imperial versus colonial.
– Jaques Derrida and Michael Foucault are classic
examples of postmodern philosophers
 Had its height in the 1960s-1990s
Art since World War II
 Cultural divisions and the Cold War
– Tatjiana Yablonskaya –in Bread (1949), showed the
realistic propaganda of the Stalinist regime
– Jackson Pollack – in One(1950), he showed the
exuberance and freedom of abstract “drip” painting
More Postmodern Art: Jackson
Pollack
 During the late 1940s and
early 1950s Pollock's radical
approach to painting
revolutionized the potential
for all Contemporary art that
followed him.
 To some extent Pollock
realized that the journey
toward making a work of art
was as important as the work
of art itself.
 Pollack’s work No. 5
Pop Art
 The term "Pop Art" was used
to describe paintings that
celebrated consumerism of the
post World War II era.
 This movement rejected
Abstract expressionism and its
focus on the psychological
interior, in favor of art which
depicted, and often celebrated
material consumer culture,
advertising, and iconography
of the mass production age
 One way that Pop art is
postmodern is that it breaks
down what Andreas Huyssen
calls the "Great Divide"
between high art and popular
culture
 Made famous by Andy Warhol
and others
Minimalism
 Rachel Whiteread used the art concept of minimalism (the
movement in architecture to remove from an object as many
features as possible while retaining the object’s form) in her
Nameless Library which commemorates the 65,000 Austrian
Jews killed by Nazi Germany
Post-Minimalism
 Performance art that changed with environmental
conditions.
 Brought attention to environmental conditions
Americanization of Europe
 the spread of American influences
in the economy, military, and
culture to Europe
 companies such as McDonald’s ,
Apple. Starbucks, and the Gap
have outlets all over Europe
 music, movies and television
shows from the U.S. have also
come to Europe
 has been met by some resentment
by people who do not want to lose
their European culture
Environmentalism
 concerns about pollution
grows in the 1970’s and
1980’s
 Green Party – an influential
political party that started in
Germany and were
concerned about global
warming and pollution
 Green movement is anticapitalist and anti-nuclear
 Chernobyl nuclear disaster
in Russia in 1986 raised
questions about nuclear
power that Europe could not
ignore
In 1989, when a supertanker spilled
35,000 tons of crude oil into Alaska’s
Prince William Sound, rescue workers
struggled to save the lives of seabirds and
animals. Nevertheless, thousands died.
Ron Levy/Liaison Agency, Inc.
The Computer Age
 late nineteenth century – the invention of the calculator
improves businesses and the cash register appears in the
late 1920’s
 first actual computer – Electronic Numerical Integrator
and Computer (ENIAC) – built for ballistics calculations for
the U.S. army in 1946
 dates
– 1960’s – invention of the bitmap to cover the screen, the mouse
and the microchip
– 1982 – IBM produces small personal computer
– 1984 – Apple – produces the Macintosh – computer for a desktop at
home or office and set for commercial sales becomes available
– mid-1980’s – computer sales boom
– mid 1990’s - present – the internet boom
The earliest computers were very large. Here in a 1946 photograph J. Presper Eckert and
J. W. Mauchly stand by the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) which
was dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania Moore School of Electrical Engineering.
CORBIS/Bettmann
“Modern” Art
 Art in the current day tends to use common objects in
new ways and to use computers to synthesize new
ways of looking at things
More “Modern” Art
Photorealism
 Realism has made a resurgence as well with
Photorealism
 Yes, this is an oil painting not a photograph
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European Social and Cultural Trends