"In making my closing pronouncements on the sixties, I cannot improve upon these two clichÃÂ©s: there has been nothing quite like it; nothing would ever be quite the same again" (Arthur Marwick). Discuss this in reference to two disciplines.
The social and cultural development of the sixties are unique and distinct enough to deserve Marwick's clichÃÂ©s. Yet the hold the period aloof is to neglect how it was closely linked to the preceding and the subsequent periods. For each period builds on to the next. Many events that developed in the fifties escalated into intense counter-cultural activities, bringing the sixties to the forefront as a period that has never, nor will ever occur again.
Marwick considers the period "the long sixties" (Block 6, p. 39). He uses the historian's analytical device, periodization, to place the long sixties between 1958 and 1973. Periodization is the cutting up of the past into chunks to study a topic of the period (Block 6, p.
18). Each period is cut at points of change at the beginning and the end of some very distinct events in time. Thus, it does not need to fall neatly within the numerical decade (1960-1969) or century (100-199AD) (Block 6, pp 18-23). It provides "a clear sense of sequence of developments and events" (Block 6, p. 30), "a logical order" and "a series of connections and inter-relationships" (Block 6, p. 31). In short, it is a tool of convenience that provides a structure to give us a sense of the past. It is practical, but its reliability depends on how well the historians' choice of the period matches the topic studied.
Marwick uses the concept of periodization to set apart the long sixties as a period of cultural revolution or counter-cultural activities in North America and Western...